Entries from November 2007 ↓
November 30th, 2007 — Uncategorized
November 30th, 2007 — Uncategorized
I agree duane, this is the one of the most assinine and annoying things about windows passwords. Who the f*ck cares if it's going to expire in 14 days? Tell me when it's expired, and I'll change the f'ing thing. Geez.
Ok, ok, not going to recap the whole two hour show. I love how they eliminated Marie in the first 15 minutes, without even doing an extra dance. It was like the producers finally caught up with the backlash that she didn't deserve to be there and were afraid that nobody would stay tuned to see her win.Helio probably deserved to win, mostly because of Julianne, last year's champ, who is 10x more appealing on television than Cheryl. I think it's funny that when the cast list for this season came out and I stereotyped all the "stars" I called Helio, "Young and exciting athlete, ala Apolo Anton Ohno." Apolo won it last season with Julianne. I wanted Maks to win, for a couple of reasons. I like Helio over Mel because he's not a dancer and she is and I hate how the contestants are stacked with professionals who 'sort of' have a dance background. But regarding Maks:
- Repeat champions are bad for the show. It's not supposed to be about the pros, it's supposed to be about the stars. There's lots of dancers we've seen every season, and people want to see other dancers get a shot.
- The show needs another woman to win, thus showcasing the male pros. They're going to lose fanbase.
- Maks is one of those guys that's been around from the beginning. He's a raging ass, but the thing is, he's a good dancer and a good teacher. He earned his spot.
- I think Maks/Mel's dances were better, because they worked together better as a couple. All their choreography had some sort of chemistry to it. Julianne had that last year with Apolo. But this year each dance was more like a round of "What can I make Helio do next?" like a smiling little puppet. That was never more obvious than in their freestyle, which was nothing more than an exhibition in weird lifts and no dancing.
In an Extra Interview, Maksim Chmerkovskiy goes to town on the 'finale' contestants. Says that Marie doesn't deserve to be in the finals, and that the winner is usually the one with the biggest fanbase. Marie, he says, "has Mel and Helio's fanbase combined, times five." He also throws in some shots at her personal life, saying "Everybody has problems, some of us just choose to keep it private."
November 26th, 2007 — Family
This weekend was decorating weekend. My job was to put up the outside lights. 7 strings, 100 lights each. Every single one of them suffered from the same problem – half the string lit, half didn't. WTF?Swapped out several bulbs in an attempt to find a bad one. Nuthin. Interesting to note that in each case it is exactly in the middle of the string where they go from on to off. Some are lit closer to the attached plug, some the other side. Swapped out fuses. Nuthin. Gave up. Bought new lights. New string of lights, after being stapled to my house, begins to exhibit the same damned behavior. Again, WTF? I can see no place where I have skewered the wire. With some jiggling, they stay on. But for how long? What the hell is that?
November 26th, 2007 — Family
I'd like to think I've started a family tradition. I call it, "How close can you come to the emergency room, death, and/or divorce while putting up the Christmas tree?" I'll let everybody know how it goes after we attempt it this year (now with 18month old Destructo running around for added difficulty rating). Until then, have a repost of last year's classic.
Ah, tradition. Making hot chocolate, watching Charlie Brown Christmas . Putting up the tree. Yelling at the wife, scaring the kids, injuring yourself. Good times.
Getting a tree with three little kids is not as hard as it might sound. You take the little one and stick him in the Bjorn carrier on one of you. The middle one, put on your shoulders. The big one gets to walk. Just remember as you weave between trees not to let any branches whip behind you, because she's gonna get them right in the face.
Mistake #1: "Honey, the guy says this one is 8 1/2 feet. I think we can go bigger." You see, the new addition in our house has something like 12 foot ceilings. I'm not figuring on a 12 foot tree, but I think there's room to go bigger than 8 feet.
We find a tree. Good size, good shape, good pricetag. The plan is simple. Feed the kids, put them down for a nap. Put tree up while kids are sleeping, then when they wake up they can help decorate it.
So kids are fed and sleeping, and I go out to drag the tree across the lawn. It's at this point I realize that this is the biggest tree we've ever gotten, since I can barely move it. I also discover that our stand from last year, plastic as it is, is broken – won't hold water. So I'm off for trip #1 to the hardware store.
I come back with a new stand, get the tree in the house, and with the help of Kerry stand it up…
…and it hits the ceiling. Damn this is a big tree.
No, wait, it's standing on the edge of the stand. A little adjustment and it drops about 8 inches. Still a big tree, but room for an angel now. Lights go on, water goes in. Kids are awake so we run out to the hardware store for extension cord.
Come back, Kerry's standing in the doorway waiting for us. "Tree fell down," she says. More to the point, over. It's now leaning against the wall. Try as we might, we can't get the thing to stand back up. Thinking perhaps that it's just too tall, we decide to get it out of the stand and trim some off the bottom. This is trickier than it sounds, since there is water in the stand. But magically we manage to make it happen. I get the reciprocating saw and hack off some of the bottom, along with a few branches getting in the way.
Still no dice. This tree is not staying up. This is one of those plastic stands with 8 screws in it (4 bottom, 4 top) which in theory makes it easier to adjust, but in reality it's just twice as much of this game: "Is it straight?" "Yes." *turn turn turn screw screw screw tighten tighten tighten* "A little to the right." Argh. The only way we can play this game is for Kerry to hold the tree while I climb under the silly thing. The game is made more exciting by Kerry's occasional shouts of "I don't have it!" followed by me crab scrambling myself backwards from underneath the thing before I, you know, die.
It's at some point during this game that the reciprocating saw got me.
Mistake #2: "I'll put the saw down over here where it will be out of the way."
I don't recall exactly what shift of tree caused me to whip my hand away from it, but fingers hit saw blade (powered off saw blade, thankfully, or else I might not be typing this) and pain and blood ensued. I then proceeded to do that thing that my dad, lifelong meatcutter, demonstrated many times over the years — right hand clamps around left and locks there, refusing to let go. This makes for a fun image. Kerry is holding up the tree. I am bleeding, possibly badly. She can't exactly help me – she couldn't gently guide the tree down if she tried. So whatever I'm gonna do, I'm gonna do by myself. I head over to the kitchen sink and unwind my fingers. Wash off the blood, keeps bleeding, re-apply pressure. I wrap it up in paper towels. Kerry's asking if I need stitches, and I'm trying to figure out whether I could drive myself to the hospital if I do and whether she'd have to sit there holding the tree for the next 5 hours :).
Luckily, though, it finally stops bleeding after something like 5-10 minutes. Couple of band aids later and I can relieve Kerry of tree duty, throbbing fingers and all.
Jump forward a few hours. Kids are awake and anxious to put up the tree. Mommy and Daddy are getting more and more frustrated. Daddy wishes they could tie the tree off to something, but there's nothing substantial to tie it to, just some picture nails. "Rope," Kerry keeps saying, "You need rope." If there's nothing to attach a string to, there's definitely nothing to attach a rope to. But I do manage to find some string and put a new nail into the window molding where it will hold a bit more steady.
Mistake #3: Failing to adjust the tree first so string does not hold entire weight of tree.
For a brief moment it looked like it was going to work. We had maybe a minute to say "Is that going to hold?" before I watched the knot slip and with a "Nope!" from me, down it came. Luckily Kerry managed to catch it so it didn't go crash again. Yet.
Around about 8 o'clock we get a new plan. Take tree out of stand so that we can take a break and regroup. Probably go to hardware store to get string, and possibly a new stand. Each time this thing falls over it pulls on the screws in their plastic housing and weakens their ability to hold the silly thing up. So I unscrew all 8 screws and Kerry's holding it. I try a few times to lift it out of the stand but it's not happening. The kids are too underfoot for this operation, so Kerry takes them upstairs for bed. It's at that point that I decide I can lift the thing by myself.
Mistake #4: Yes, you read right. I decide to lift the thing by myself.
Assuming proper "lift with your legs, not your back" posture and getting my face full of pine needles, I give a mighty heave, lift straight up, and can feel the tree clear the stand! And then I became physics' bitch as it dawns on me that I have also removed said tree from anything that was holding it straight up and down. Since it hadn't fallen over spectacularly enough yet today, apparently I thought it would be cool to, you know, lift it a few feet off the ground and then drop the sucker.
You know that scene in all the old slapstick movies where the guy in the store is carrying a stack of 50 boxes, and they get away from him and he runs back and forth trying to get under them? Yeah, that didn't happen. I did have time to get myself the hell out of the way. With a CRASH the tree was down. I check the window and television that the tree hit, and miraculously neither are broken. I recover the Christmas decorations that took the brunt of the crash and miraculous times 2, they are not broken either.
Then I heard the footsteps. Followed by a panicked scream of "THE TREE JUST FELL ON YOUR FATHER!" Love is knowing that your spouse would move faster if she thought a tree had fallen on you. But of course I was fine so I ran toward the stairs to tell her that I was cool, that it had not fallen on me. But good news, it was in fact down. She was not in the mood to hear my good news.
That's about the end of the good parts of the story. I went out to the hardware store, got some string and a new stand. New stand was pointless, way too small. It dawns on me afterward that I keep seeing these stands that are rated for 10 ft, and I'm still mentally thinking that this tree is a little bigger than 8.5 feet, so we should be cool. Turns out that this tree is closer to 11 feet tall, which is probably a big part of the problem. But anyway, I also pick up some new string, and we come up with a compromise – we find the position that the tree wants to comfortably in, and tie it off there. That way, minimum tension on the string. No matter what "straight" means, there are just some positions you cannot get a tree to stand in. So basically, we gave up. It's straight, but it's smooshed way back against the wall. I'm not even going to think about any sort of scratches or discoloring that it's doing to my wall right now. I just don't want it to fall anymore.
And I apparently mean that literally. Bill Lawrence, creator of Scrubs, claims that Tara Reid was his least favorite guest star on the show because she stank of booze, and she smokes. I like how the article says that calls to Tara Reid's people went unanswered, as if they needed confirmation that she's a boozehound. Open a tabloid, people!Also in the article is a story about a censored dream sequence where Turk loses a testicle and the boys go shopping at BallMart. No word on whether the censoring was done because of the anatomical reference or because it would piss off WalMart. Given that they once did a dream sequence where Turk was a cow and JD milked him, I'm gonna go ahead and assume the latter.
November 25th, 2007 — News
All over my town up here in the Massachusetts north shore, I'm seeing signs for Ron Paul all over town. They are hand made, and say things like "Google Ron Paul" or "Freedom Ron Paul."Thus far they all appear to have been written by the same person, as they are in the exact same style and materials (purple paint on some form of white posterboard). Should be interesting to see how it catches on.
November 25th, 2007 — Family
We take the kids to a Catholic church. With our youngest under 2, my job is basically to keep him occupied for the time while my wife tries to explain to the older two what is going on.So how surprised was I when the priest starts his gospel by talking about the Buddhist monks of Burma? Naturally I was interested. He explained the situation, the protests, the violence. And then he explained the symbol of the overturned alms bowls by saying that it was symbolic of the military having "turned away from God." And that's when he lost me. I was unfamiliar with the symbol in question, where the monks, who traditionally carry "alms bowls" for donations, carry them upside down. As soon as I heard him say it I assumed it was a symbol of "We would rather have nothing than what you offer." But turning away from God? That's when you get into a very careful interpretation about whether Buddhism has a god figure. Some say absolutely not, Buddha himself said so. But there are those that revere Buddha himself as a god. So I suppose, by the most liberal interpretation that I can think of, that the symbol could in fact mean that if you are acting against the path of Buddhism, then you are in fact pointed in a direction away from Nirvana (or salvation, in the Christian interpretation), which is as close to "god" as I think it gets. But hey, the Patriots just won, so I'm going to bed.
November 24th, 2007 — Family
So my 3yr old is telling me about the imaginary birthday party she is having with her dolls. "And all my friends are coming," she tells me, "Ashley and Felicity and Regan and Goneril and Courtney."Now, to any outsider, those could well be the names of children in her preschool class. But to the well trained ear of Dad:
- Ashley is Ashley Tinsdale, who plays Sharpay on High School Musical.
- Felicity is an American Girl doll. They do not have that one, they just like to read about her in the catalog.
- Regan and Goneril are King Lear's daughters. Yes, my 3yr old knows some Shakespeare. Sometimes Cordelia, the good daughter, makes an appearance as well.
- Courtney is the name of a woman at Daddy's work. She knows this because she once asked "Are there any girls at your work?" and I named the first two I could think of, Jessica and Courtney. Ever since then, those names have been part of the imaginary friends game.