Sunday, December 31, 2006

Tall Brad's Wedding

I'm a little slow, but I blame Pooteewheet as she took off with the camera yesterday. Then again, Mean Mr. Mustard has some details, and he's right, Erik's quote on Overheard in Minneapolis (although accurately, overheard in St. Paul) about the taste of onions vs. testicles was put there by me (had to do something without the camera). I apologize if you expect beautiful pictures of the wedding or the procession or the speeches at the reception. I don't have those. I do have half a dozen pictures of Christy's cleavage (by Pooteewheet, not by me). The women were having a camera fight that actually moved into the women's bathroom at one point. I'm pleased to say none of those pictures were on my camera. If you're related to Christy and you need a picture of her cleavage, please put in your email request, or maybe I'll just throw one out there some day in the far future and you'll be lucky enough to recognize it...them.

Tycho drummers before dinner.

Tall Brad's and Ms. Tall Brad's wedding was held at the history center. Pooteewheet and I got to share a table with the Klunds, the Mustards, and Erik. Our commonality was that the guys either all worked for the same company, or had worked for the same company. Quite a few company folk and ex-company folk there. Here, Klund is showing me that he is using a second knife to fix the mini-cake in the middle of the table, not the same one he used to taste it.

The Klunds spent the night in the Scooter Red Room - a nice bed and breakfast that offers a choice of banana or blueberry pancakes in the morning. There was much discussion about dental work and where exactly it hurts most if you're poked with lidocaine.

Mr. and Ms. Mustard, shunning the papparazzi. Ms. Mustard is doing that on purpose. We have pictures of her smiling, but never with Mr. Mustard in the same frame.

Squirrel and husband, sneaking out. If you read the Chilifest 2006 post (at Tall Brad's house), you'll understand why that's funny. Hmm...I notice in that post that I called Darren "Daryl" - that's not right, although I'm too lazy to fix the original post. Darren was at the wedding, actually in the party. If you read the story about the Bachelor Party, Darren was the one who took the bowling ball to the face.

Tall Brad, not with the bride.

Mary, the bride, not with the groom. I don't know why the person in the foreground is going to throw a glass of beer at her. At least it doesn't look very full.

Not a cleavage picture, but this is where Christy and Monica probably should have been cut off to spare the women in the bathroom the trauma of camera flashes going off.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Movies 2006

Pooteewheet and I watched a lot of movies this year. Not particularly more than in other years as our Netflix list shows about one every three days, but it always seems excessive, particularly given that we also go to a few movies at the theater (lots of kids movies, Eryn is keen on the big screen) watch the odd thing on IFC or at a friend's house, are given a DVD from a friend, or via a gift certificate to Blockbuster from my boss. So here's this year's Netflix list. I'm going to assume we won't get anything back to them before the 3rd, given the holidays and all. We finished off the year with a few ones, and there really aren't that many fives if you eliminate classics and kid's movies. Fours galore...just not fives. Murderball, Unforgivable Blackness, Walk the Line, and The Aristrocrats were all great. And I'd be willing to recommend most of the fours. Some, like Transamerica, Hard Candy and Tristram Shandy were very memorable.

Hey...I just noticed that Pulse is in there twice, once with a three and once with a one. I'd like to point out that the one with a three, that's the Japanese version. The one with a one - that's the U.S. version with the chick from Veronica Mars. Sucked chimple.

Pulse 112/29/06
Clifford: Happy Birthday Clifford / Puppy Love 412/28/06
Manderlay 312/26/06
The Sentinel 112/26/06
Habit 312/19/06
Let's Scare Jessica to Death 112/19/06
The Polar Express 312/18/06
Dead End 312/15/06
The Baby 112/14/06
Martin 412/12/06
Clifford's Really Big Movie 512/11/06
CSA: Confederate States of America 312/08/06
The Exorcism of Emily Rose 112/06/06
Dead and Breakfast 212/05/06
Nacho Libre 312/01/06
Osama 312/01/06
The Proposition 311/28/06
Feast 311/28/06
District B13 311/21/06
Marebito 111/21/06
Porco Rosso 311/20/06
The Future of Food 311/16/06
Kinky Boots 311/14/06
Hard Candy 411/09/06
The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada 411/09/06
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang 411/07/06
Lucky Number Slevin 411/06/06
Thank You for Smoking 411/03/06
Lady Vengeance 310/31/06
The Short Films of David Lynch 210/31/06
Ask the Dust 210/30/06
Silent Hill 310/24/06
The Education of Shelby Knox 310/20/06
Hotel Rwanda 510/17/06
To Kill a Mockingbird 510/16/06
Toy Story 510/11/06
Good Night, and Good Luck 409/27/06
Doogal 209/25/06
Firelight 309/14/06
Brokeback Mountain 409/13/06
2009 Lost Memories 209/08/06
Capote 409/08/06
Pride and Prejudice 409/01/06
Tarnation 308/31/06
Protocols of Zion 308/29/06
Jarhead 408/25/06
The Libertine 208/22/06
The Wicker Man 408/17/06
Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children 108/16/06
Pooh's Heffalump Movie 508/15/06
Dark Water 108/14/06
Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story 408/08/06
Hoodwinked 208/08/06
The King of Masks 408/08/06
The Matador 3.6 Stars07/31/06
The Boondock Saints 407/24/06
Schizopolis 307/24/06
Breaking the Waves 407/18/06
Mrs. Henderson Presents 3.7 Stars07/18/06
Bullitt 407/10/06
Munich 307/10/06
Match Point 207/06/06
The Memory of a Killer 206/30/06
Walk the Line 506/27/06
Transamerica 406/14/06
Introducing Dorothy Dandridge 306/09/06
The Josephine Baker Story 206/08/06
A History of Violence 206/01/06
Kontroll 305/30/06
Three ... Extremes II 205/23/06
Lewis Black: Unleashed 4.4 Stars05/18/06
Three... Extremes 305/17/06
Paradise Lost 2: Revelations 505/15/06
Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills 505/15/06
James Ellroy Presents Bazaar Bizarre 205/09/06
My Neighbor Totoro 505/08/06
Natural City 205/05/06
What the #$*! Do We Know!? 105/03/06
The Deer Hunter 405/02/06
Save the Green Planet! 405/01/06
Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price 404/28/06
March of the Penguins 404/28/06
The Squid and the Whale 404/25/06
North Country 404/24/06
The Door in the Floor 404/19/06
Thumbsucker 304/18/06
The Transporter 2 304/12/06
Shiri 204/11/06
The Constant Gardener 304/10/06
Howl's Moving Castle 504/07/06
The Ice Harvest 304/06/06
Paper Clips 304/03/06
Red Eye 303/29/06
Pulse 303/27/06
MirrorMask 403/24/06
Zathura 03/14/06
Broken Flowers 403/14/06
Valiant 103/14/06
The Sopranos: Season 5: Disc 4 (4-Disc Series) 403/10/06
Creep 203/07/06
Lord of War 303/07/06
Animal Crackers 102/28/06
The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra 202/27/06
Grizzly Man 302/27/06
The Sopranos: Season 5: Disc 3 (4-Disc Series) Series Disc 02/22/06
The Chronicles of Riddick: Dark Fury 302/21/06
The Aristocrats 502/17/06
Dark Tales of Japan 202/14/06
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy 202/14/06
Gozu 302/13/06
Ong-Bak: The Thai Warrior 402/08/06
The Sopranos: Season 5: Disc 2 (4-Disc Series) Series Disc 02/08/06
The Sopranos: Season 5: Disc 1 (4-Disc Series) Series Disc 02/07/06
The Stink of Flesh 102/03/06
Backyardigans: The Snow Fort 302/02/06
Stealth 202/01/06
Kung Fu Hustle 401/31/06
Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room 401/27/06
Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance 401/26/06
2046 301/23/06
Murderball 501/19/06
Battle Royale 301/19/06
The Island 101/16/06
Crash 401/12/06
Character 301/10/06
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory 301/10/06
Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson: Disc 2 (2-Disc Series) 501/06/06
Whole 201/06/06
Robots 301/03/06


I've been catching up on my G4 podcasts, so there are a few things to address.

Item one, not a video, but a story I heard on both Layla Kayleigh's The Feed and on MPR. Mexico has super weed...super marijuana (Chicago Sun Times). Pot that is resistant to fumigation by air and is almost impossible to kill. Surprisingly, you don't hear about one of the big plant patent companies claiming it's patent infringement. Maybe when they figure out there's a lot of money to make selling suicide marijuana plants they'll legalize it and get in on the action. I wonder if this means that Macalester's CHEEBAdanza is back on?

The Daily Nut (hosted by Olivia Munn and Jamie Kennedy this week) pointed me to the next few videos. In this one, there is proof that Santa and the elves don't get along very well, just like in my Christmas story.

This video, about a game show in Japan where you get hit in the crotch has to be seen to be believed.

And this is the funniest thing I've seen in a long time. I had this stupid idea for a YouTube clip that it would be funny to put someone on an office chair, attach a small motor, and spin them around until they puked. I don't think I'd have ever thought to MacGuyver the combination of a moped and a merry-go-round.

An Open Letter for Cookie Queen and Dan'l

We have cleaned Eryn's room and are forcing her to put away her own toys. Unfortunately, I think this means that Conner can no longer come over as he may upset the natural balance of kid vs. clutter we have achieved. That, and we finally got the fish food off of, and out of, everything.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Excel 101

I hate all of you who send me Excel Workbooks with three worksheets, two of which are blank. I simply can't trust you to not put important data on those other worksheets, even though you assure me that if you were to put data there, you'd rename the sheets. After all, if you're too lazy to select Tools from the menu, followed by the options selection, and then click into the general tab and change the 3 to a 1 once, then there's no assurance you're not so lazy that you wouldn't put meaningful data on "Sheet2" or "Sheet3".

Books 2006

In the interests of national security, this is everything I read in the last year. 16,616 pages, the most I've read in a single year since 1996. 47 books with an average rating of 7.64 (.04 higher than last year) and average of 353 pages each. That's 158,261 pages since I started keeping track in early 1994 (433 books). You are free to disagree with my ratings. I've often noted that I should have an immediate rating (what you see below) and a "six months later" rating, but I have yet to implement anything that fancy.

That two month gap from September through's not entirely coincidence that it's right before I switched to my new job. I don't read so much when I'm in a bad mood.

12/26/2006Something Rotten: A Thursday Next Novel (number 4 in the series)Fforde, Jasper8.75
12/17/2006Horror: the Best of the Year (2006 Edition)Betancourt, John and Sean Wallace (editors)6.00
12/12/2006Schrodinger's BallFelber, Adam8.00
12/7/2006Orbiting the Giant Hairball: A Corporate Fool's Guide to Surviving With GraceMacKenzie, Gordon7.50
12/5/2006Well of Lost Plots, The: : A Thursday Next Novel (number 3 in the series)Fforde, Jasper9.00
11/29/2006Lost in a Good Book: A Thursday Next NovelFforde, Jasper8.75
11/25/2006Eyre Affair, TheFforde, Jasper9.50
11/18/2006Scanner Darkly, ADick, Philip K.7.00
11/11/2006Finding Serenity: Anti-heroes, Lost Shepherds and Space Hookers in Joss Whedon's FireflyEspenson, Jane (ed.)7.50
10/14/2006Metzger's DogPerry, Thomas8.50
9/16/2006Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American MealSchlosser, Eric9.25
9/2/2006Five Dysfunctions of a Team, The: A Leadership FableLencioni, Patrick7.50
9/2/2006Rendezvous with RamaClarke, Arthur Charles9.00
8/29/2006Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of EverythingLevitt, Steven D. and Stephen J. Dubner9.00
8/22/2006Night of the Triffids, TheClark, Simon8.50
8/15/2006Day of the Triffids, TheWyndham, John9.25
8/8/2006Blind LakeWilson, Robert Charles8.00
7/27/2006Dirty Job, AMoore, Christopher8.75
7/17/2006SpinWilson, Robert Charles7.50
7/12/2006CamouflageHaldeman, Joe5.00
7/8/2006Fluke (Or, I Know Why the Winged Whale Sings)Moore, Christopher7.25
7/3/2006Soul Music (Discworld XVI)Pratchett, Terry6.75
6/22/2006CitySimak, Clifford D.7.50
6/22/2006Penelopiad, TheAtwood, Margaret7.25
6/16/2006Men at Arms (Discworld XV)Pratchett, Terry9.00
6/14/2006Anansi BoysGaiman, Neil9.50
6/8/2006Lords and Ladies (Discworld XIV)Pratchett, Terry6.50
6/4/2006Way StationSimak, Clifford D.7.50
5/30/2006At The Hands of Persons Unknown: The Lynching of Black AmericaDray, Philip10.00
5/30/2006Ghost Brigades, TheScalzi, John8.00
5/26/2006Draco Tavern, TheNiven, Larry6.00
5/23/2006Small Gods (Discworld XIII)Pratchett, Terry8.00
5/20/2006Parasite Rex: Inside the Bizarre World of Nature's Most Dangerous CreaturesZimmer, Carl8.50
5/15/2006Algebraist, TheBanks, Iain M.8.00
4/28/2006Designing Portals: Opportunities and ChallengesJafari, Ali and Mark Sheehan6.00
4/21/2006Witches Abroad (Discworld XII)Pratchett, Terry6.50
4/7/2006Cell: A NovelKing, Stephen6.50
4/2/2006Year's Best SF 10Hartwell, David G. and Kathryn Cramer (editors)8.00
4/2/2006Olympus (Sequel to Illium)Simmons, Dan9.50
3/10/2006Devil, The: A BiographyStanford, Peter0.00
3/3/2006A Feast For Crows (Book Four of a Song of Ice and Fire)Martin, George R. R.5.00
2/19/2006Dark Tower, The (the Dark Tower VII)King, Stephen5.00
2/10/2006Old Man's WarScalzi, John9.00
2/4/2006Harry Potter and the Half Blood PrinceRowling, J.K.8.25
1/25/2006Nickeled and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in AmericaEhrenreich, Barbara8.00
1/17/2006Kooks: A Guide to the Outer Limits of Human BeliefKossy, Donna7.50
1/10/2006Battle RoyaleTakami, Koushun8.00

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Extensive Christmas Blogging

The Scooter family spent three days Christmasing. One day with Kyle, celebrating and drinking at the Scooter house, post Eryn's bedroom cleaning. One day with Scooter's side of the family in St. Paul. And one day with Pooteewheet's side of the family in the northern burbs. There are enough pictures to fill the first hard drive I ever owned, so I'm not going to post all of them, just a smattering. If you're family and you need more, we can send you a CD. Photos at the top...some movies at the bottom. The Easter Egg is the movie at the bottom entitled's less Christmasy, and more in line with that last post about 365 positions...

The Scooter family portrait...

Pooteewheet's side hanging with St. Nick. Eryn thanked him for the Mickey Mouse Christmas DVD and Buckaroo.

Eryn thanking Santa - this is the first time she's been willing to sit on his lap. His Buckaroo bribery worked well.

This is Buckaroo. You hang all your prospectin gear from the mule, and at some point it gets too heavy and he throws it all off. I'm convinced it's a drinking game - after all, the more coordination you lose, the more often he bucks, the more often you drink. I'm pretty sure it needs to make the trip to New Year's.

Eryn and Rose play the Monkey Game. This takes too long to be a viable drinking game, unless you have a drink for every monkey you crash or something, and that would be too short of a drinking game. I like to hang the monkeys and spin them until they fly off, just like we'd fly off the earth if it was really spinning like some crazies would have us believe.

Great Grandma Nomi opens a gift.

This is what a couple that gets pregnant for Christmas looks like. Announcing it didn't get them any pre-kid Christmas presents. I think they're checking the stick again in this picture...just to be sure.

Artie loves his new horse. Fortunately, you have to cross it with a burro or something to get a Buckaroo, so he's safe.

Max loves his big truck. We bought him that after quite a bit of discussion about whether my sister-in-law would be able to find space in her house for it. We eventually decided we didn't care whether she could or could not, he still needed the truck. His favorite present was a Cookie Monster flash light. I have video that's simply me talking in the dark while every now and then a flashlight is turned on me. It'd probably be scary if it were the real Cookie Monster.

Eryn pondering whether she gets Artie's inheritance and/or horse if he just "disappears".

Krista and my niece Sofie...

My niece with her new plastic helicopter. It comes with a universal wrench, Doctor Who style.

Little bit of family poker...all in! Shortly after this my aunt-in-law was reduced to drinking with my father-in-law at the losers' table.

Eryn is ecstatic about her new housecoat from Mom and Dad. She'd wear it to bed if she could.

Spock...there's a....balloon....on my head. Spock...I said...there's

Don't know what LissyJo is making here...but it's questionable. She is a nurse, so maybe it's for medical modeling purposes.

My brother likes to make balloon things too. This is some sort of weird sexual give and receive thing.


Eryn, Christmas Morning. Don't watch the whole thing, it's pretty long. But if you sit through 4 full minutes, you can appreciate the "What the hell!?" at the end and Pooteewheet trying to correct her to say "What the heck." In her defense, we did tell her it was o.k. to be a little more liberal with her language at home.

It's a tradition in our family that everyone take off their shoes and socks and we immediately donate them to a less fortunate family. Makes it difficult to get home, even in a mild December, but sometimes charity makes demands.

Eryn embraces the holiday by performing her version of The Little Drummer Girl.

And the piece for which I have daughter, wife and mother engaging in what can only be described as wildly inappropriate balloon behavior. Nightmare material for the next year.

Position of the Day

My sister in law was very considerate this year and got me a copy of the Position of the Day Playbook (along with a quart of corn whiskey my nephew picked out). I assume the positions detailed wrap every 365, so we can assume December 26 this year and next year are the same. After all, if I'm expected to have sex 365 times a year, you can't very well expect me to wait a week until the new year starts.

Tall Brad should be very excited for me as today's position is "The Tripod". Calories expended by "her (one-legged)" 72. Calories expended by "her (two-legged)" 55. That's not two alternatives on the same position - there's just no man involved except maybe for watching to make sure I can put an x on the day in the book.

Nacho Scooter

Kyle gave me a copy of the game Carcassonne (I loves the board games) and the movie Nacho Libre for Christmas. Nacho Libre was a last minute purchase he felt he had to buy because it came with a Mexican wrestling mask. As you can see, he was fully justified.

Sunday, December 24, 2006


This is primarily a link for The Ox and Kyle (via Pharyngula). The Ox because he's a big fan of the person singing the song, and yet he was a hair band guy in his younger days, so maybe this will cure him. Kyle because it's going to make his eyes and ears bleed. For the love of Mike, they're f-ing harmonizing. Ugh.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

The Beeb

Layla Kayleigh told me that the Beeb would be publishing a huge swath of their video content on the Zudeo file sharing system, including Doctor Who, Red Dwarf, Invasion Earth and The League of Gentlemen and many more.

Now I know why they gave me a Blackberry

...just so I could annoy the hell out of Mean Mr. Mustard. But he does get the advantage of me pinging him from the parking lot on my way in to let him know that the thermos of coffee will be at my cube by the time he walks there from his. That's a practical application of new technology. Eryn likes the breakout game, and if her hands are full of breakout, she's not asking me to carry her. That's also a practical application because...

My day involved carrying Eryn from doctor appointment, to lunch, to specialist appointment. Ultimate diagnosis...probably a bruise, but it could be some flexed cartiledge. I think I could have Googled that as fast as they did. I'm pretty sure that lugging 44.0-46.4 pounds of little girl around all day (that was the range between the two doctors) is going to put my neck, right shoulder, and back in a world of hurt by tomorrow. I suspect I would have been better off just staying at the orthopedist's office and letting him work on me. For those of you, like my wife, who may ask, "Why didn't you just push her around in a stroller?", I respond, "It was raining ice covered with snow, you gits." Enough rain to drench someone for a while...setting up a stroller in the middle of that just wasn't a feasible option.

She's still not walking on it - but she's in a good mood.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

I Picture Frodo Doing Edward Norton's Soliloquy in Fight Club

For Mean Mr. Mustard and Klund, via Jambo at Three Way News, "Ikea Product, or Lord of the Rings Character?" Answer key is at the bottom, so scroll down carefully if you don't want to see the answers.

Pope Stephen!

From ~Tild via the Wege...I'm Pope Stephen VI.

I'm Pope Stephen! Hurrah.
Which Historical Lunatic Are You?
From the fecund loins of Rum and Monkey.

Made Bishop of Agagni by Pope Formosus, you became Pope yourself in 896 by putting your immediate predecessor, Boniface VI, to death. Your reign lasted all of fourteen months. However, you firmly assured your place in history by putting the rotting corpse of the aforementioned Formosus on trial in the splendidly named Synod Horrenda. Naturally, Formosus was clad in full papal vestments. Having dug up the stinking remains once already, you proceeded to have them found guilty, reburied, re-exhumed, relieved of the three fingers of the right hand used in consecrations and finally thrown into the Tiber. All ordinations performed by the luckless Formosus were annulled. After this delightful display of gratitude, you were promptly strangled, paving the way for an increasingly short-lived series of successors and the reinstatement, dereinstatement and rereinstatement of Formosus' Papal deeds.


I hate getting sick...hate it. I think I've said that before. This was at least not a horrible sickeness. Friday morning I had what I thought was an allergic reaction, followed by a day of being colder than I thought was reasonable. Saturday morning I went to the company Christmas party and thought that waiting for Santa for an hour had sort of worn me out. By the time I got home, I was treated to alternating shivers and sweats and bowel problems best left to the imagination. The shivering was the worst. I lay in front of the t.v. covered with three blankets and a sleeping bag and twitched until my muscles hurt. Fortunately, today, it seems to be going away. But it kind of mucks up the weekend.

Here's Eryn with Mr. and Mrs. Claus after our hour wandering back and forth in the TU library. Eryn told Santa she wants a Mickey Mouse Christmas DVD. She refused to sit on his lap and was nervous about standing next to him, but Mrs. Claus convinced her she could stand next to her.

Here's Eryn at my new cube with the pole (behind her). Her comment, "This is small." Thanks, honey. Obviously, it's still possible to get your work done. I gave her my company calendar and she found the day where it said Children's Christmas Party and was all excited.

Unrelated...Grandma sent Eryn a Mumu. It looks exactly like something my mother would wear herself, so it's weird to see Eryn running around the house in it.

Book Meme-ing Via She Says

Pilfered from She Says at Unblague. You can go to her site to see the full pedigree.

1) One book that changed your life?
The Peoples of the British Isles. A New History from Prehistoric Times to 1688 by Stanford Lehmberg. The original is out of print, but there are updated versions. If I hadn't gotten married, I think Stan's book would have been what dropped me into Wales to study Tudor history. As it was, it got me out of engineering and into four years of history and English. Sure, I don't do those things now, but I still use what I learned, and my writing and research skills have always been better than average. I console myself with the theory that if I had stayed a historian and moved to Wales, I'd have just ended up working for T Finance's Welsh office in the long run.

2) One book you have read more than once?
I'm going to name three, because as a kid I just rotated between them for a while. Jules Verne's Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, H.G. Wells' Time Machine and H.G. Wells' War of the Worlds. In particular, there was a copy of TTLUtS in my elementary school library that was annotated with little picures and vocabulary breakouts - I think I renewed it every few weeks for almost two years. It was probably what fed my obsession with dystopias later in life.

3) One book you would want on a desert island?
I gave this some thought. The Decameron and The Canterbury Tales both come readily to mind, particularly as there's a little bit of filth in each. But my first choice would be my complete Shakespeare collection. Maybe that's cheating - after all, it's a big pile of individual works, not a single work. So...just to clarify, in case I'm ever doing a Robinson Crusoe and have to be very picky when I'm at the shipwreck before it goes under - if it's my complete Shakespeare that I have along, I'm grabbing that. If it's a variety of Shakespearian portfolios, I'm grabbing Canterbury Tales followed by The Decameron.

4) One book that made you cry?
Evelyn Waugh's A Handful of Dust. The idea of reading Dicken's in a jungle for the rest of my life made me acutely sad.

5) One book that made you laugh?
Let's just go with the latest. Just this afternoon Jasper Fforde's Something Rotten made me laugh. There's a show called Evade The Question Time where two members of the British government are debating and an audience member states, "A Terrible Thing was done by Somebody this week, and I'd like to ask the panel if they condemn this." The discussion details which party intends to do what, and how the one part is soft on Terrible Things while the other party means to give full punishment to things that are Outrageously Awful and Mildly Inappropriate, as they can lead to things that are Obscenely Perverse. Later, a politcian points out that England shouldn't trust Denmark because they euthenize kittens and puppies, so they can't be that humanitarian. Fforde's mocking of government is hilarious.

6) One book you wish had been written?
Navigating Corporate Politics for Developers. Alternatively, any of those I've started writing and have never finished...

7) One book you wish had never been written?
Faith Popcorn's The Popcorn Report. In grad school this book made me so angry that my thesis adviser was highly amused. I don't think he'd ever seen me so passionate about something I hated. Premise...sign up a big pile of fortune 500 companies...have them tell you what they're doing so you get a baseline. Watch the newspaper and see how many people are camping or collecting angel dolls. Tell the fortune 500 companies, angels in the's in. Feel vindicated when they all run angel and wilderness advertisements and point to each other as proof that it is in. I'm also not very fond of Camille Paglia's Sexual Personae (1974), but she makes coherent arguments, so I'm willing to let that one slide.

8) One book you are reading currently?
Fforde's Something Rotten. It's the fourth, and last, book in the Thursday Next series. I've enjoyed them all.

9) One book you have been meaning to read?
David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest. I'm horrified I haven't read it, as I started it, and loved it (and him...I've read some of his articles as well), but had to set it down when I started a Biztalk/Reporting Services project at work before either of those things really had a book, and my time sort of vanished. It's a goal for 2007. I also have David Neiwert's In God's Country in my queue. The man doesn't have a Wikipedia entry? Seriously?

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Via Elise at After School Snack (via the Beeb - you are so uncool, Elise...BBC? Lame...) - I haven't quoted Elise in a long time.
"The blogging phenomenon is set to peak in 2007, according to technology redictions by analysts Gartner. The analysts said that during the middle of next year the number of blogs will level out at about 100 million. The firm has said that 200 million people have already stopped writing their blogs. Gartner analyst Daryl Plummer said the reason for the levelling off in blogging was due to the fact that most people who would ever start a web blog had already done so. He said those who loved blogging were committed to keeping it up, while others had become bored and moved on... "Everyone thinks they have something to say, until they're put on stage and asked to say it."

Wow...200 million? I have to admit, mine never stays on track, it floats from politics to kids to programming, and once in a while I take a hiatus of 3 to 5 days, but I always post something after a while...there are 120 people a day relying on my insight...way more than I affect in a normal day at work. I must be in that "loving" category, although that's a very strong word.

The Gyre

I have been at my current employer since 1999. When I was there originally, I was a consultant. That lasted about 2 years, until I found a group that I really felt like joining. But before that I was on a group that was working with the premier proprietary database for this international company. As of Monday I have a new job, and I'm busy reading hundreds of documents about this database that was started about the time I began my tenure with the company.

I'm 1/3 the way into a document about the database and it collection structure and I get to the part where all the collections are named Apong###. I looked at it, and I yelled upstairs to my wife, "Hey, all the collections in my document are called 'Apong something or other'". Pooteewheet yells back (I paraphrase, but close), "Ming's collections are in your document?"

That's right, in a huge company, larger than my home town, I can identify the individual developer involved in the samples in the documentation by the name of his fake development collections.

Note that he gave me crap for years about how "apong" was some sort of Malaysian swear word I wouldn't be able to find on the web. Well, he was right...not the web, but legacy documents, no problem.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Seriously Retro

Pooteewheet and I have been married for a while...a long while. This picture might surprise people who know us...

Beer Beer Beer...

None of these were consumed tonight (poker at Tall Brad's is to blame for three of them), but this is a smattering of beer I picked up at Blue Max Liquor last time I was down there, taking advantage of their buy a single(s) option. The one kept in brandy casks (Winter's Bourbon Cask Ale) was good, but I didn't like the vanilla flavoring. I think vanilla flavoring ruins beer. I might feel differently if I were to drink say, half a vanilla-flavored beer, but a whole one always starts to taste sort of nasty. The Snow Cap was probably the tastiest of them if you're not into hops - it was just a solid offering. If you're into hops, Hop Slam is delicious. You might as well be drinking liquid hop flavor. The Reverend (the tall one) is supposed to be outstanding, but I found it merely standing, although high in alcohol.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Kid Blogging

It was Ollie's birthday yesterday - the big 4...oh? Just 4. So we hightailed it all the way up to his house in the northern burbs to celebrate, eat cake and play with his presents. A fine time was had by all, although Eryn had a mini fit about being denied bossy-ing rights in Hungry Hungry Hippo. There was some disagreement about where you could pilfer your balls from (we're pretty lenient with the hungry hungry hippo rules at our house - the real rule is hungry hungry hippo doesn't mean much in real life and that you're supposed to just learn to have fun and not be hasn't really sunk in yet).

The kids liked Twister in particular. Here's Eryn and my niece and nephew living it up. For quite a while, Eryn was pretty sure you were supposed to put the dial on whatever color/body part she was currently using. Twister dyslexia.

Of coure, Artie might have preferred she stuck to that set of rules, as he's clearly on the wrong end of a squishing in this picture.

Ceri didn't want to play Twister, he just wanted to play with his balls.

My niece and I focused on making sure Buzz Lightyear could get home (and eating strawberries...lots and lots of strawberries. And grapes...almost as good as strawberries).

That red dress Eryn has on is her Christmas dress, and she's very proud of it. Here are a few more pictures. In this one, she's happy about the red dress, and the prospect of an upcoming 48 degree day in Minnesota in December.

This is just to show off the whole dress and the fact that we have much of our Christmas shopping already done.

Later on, after the birthday, we went to a coworker's holiday party and ran into a bunch of my other coworkers, and Dan'l, CookieQueen and Conner (who know the coworker from CookieQueen's college days when she drank with him and invited me up to Morris to drink with them. He used to wear a shirt that said "Put a little KUMM in your ear" at that time - he worked for the Morris college radio station). The party started at 7:00 (we got there about 7:30), and by 9:00 or so, Eryn was absolutely having a meltdown about some spinning game with two plastic pieces that you jump over. Being an only kid doesn't prepare you well for people stomping on your game and criticizing your ability to play. In her defense, she was playing by herself quietly until the dozen other kids floating around realized she had something went downhill very fast after that. But her game was better than the host's kid's made up game...Squidball. He was making some coworker's wife play Squidball with him on the stairs. Sounds dirty, but it involves a football and throwing it up and down the stairs. When she dropped the ball, she lost 10 points. When the kid dropped the ball, she still lost 10 points. Everything the coworker's wife did cost her 10 points. We told Pooteewheet she was probably down 10 points just for asking what the hell Squidball was.

Here are some videos of the birthday party action, though I don't guarantee they'll be available immediately. YouTube plays it like that. By the way, if you haven't noticed, you can stream directly from your webcam to YouTube now. That is NOT why I bought a webcam, but if I was doing my own podcast, I'd consider that very cool. Twister:

My niece with a Curious George top - she picked up the idea almost immediately:

Webcam is live...

The Scooter family had a Best Buy gift certificate on hand from our high speed internet set up, so I made an executive decision and included a cheap webcam in my holiday shopping purchases so that Eryn can talk to Grandpa and Grandma and her cousin over the computer. Here you may enjoy the fruits of my shopping.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Privacy Pole

I start my new position on Monday, and I have been to see my new cube. It has a privacy pole. That's a term coined by my friend Ming (who also has one) for the huge, round, wallpaper-covered pole that holds up the floor or building. Mine sits on the lefthand side (if you're facing into the cube, as you usually are when you're typing, although with a laptop, I'm not sure that's a given) and takes up about 20-25% of the available space. I am not keen on a big pole taking up so much of my space, even though I'll be in a bigger cube than I was in before, and I've been pondering how to spruce it up a bit. Mean Mr. Mustard jokes about my worries about "decorating my pole at work", but sometimes you have to go with the double entendre to get anything done. After all, "I need to consider how to minimize the visual impact of that wallpaper-covered, three-foot diameter structural support artifact in my cube" takes too damn long to say. Then again, maybe I should just talk about decorating my three foot pole at work so that quoting me is a scary proposition.

I think the best idea, rather than a Maypole motif, or a holidays-rotating thing, like a candy cane, would be to put circular bookshelves around the thing. Just figure out the arc and the measurements and build bookshelves curving around the front, about four feet high. Tall Brad assures me facilities wouldn't like it, but they're not plugged in to anything, and facilities wouldn't do much if I just had books stacked there without shelves. I did notice that if you put pole and decorate into Google, you learn that many communities have street light pole decorating competitions. I wonder if there's a chance that I could organize a privacy pole decoration competition at work - maybe I could get an award for being all pro-beautifying the workplace. more bit of freethinking...a totem pole might be cool, and maybe I could claim a religious right so they couldn't tear it down. I could decorate it with the various symbols from my projects at work...Unity symbol, that sort of thing. Let me know if you have any good ideas.

Friday, December 08, 2006


It is f-ing irritating that I'm home early enough to blog from poker at Tall Brad's house. Three 7's should not be a losing hand. I should just stay home. On-line poker for no money at all is almost as satisfying and I don't lose overall playing against online folk, I do really well.

Pooteewheet seems a little disturbed that I think a three-way with Rita Moreno and Carol Kane would be hot. Sure, Rita will be 75 this week, but Carol is only in her mid-50's. She could be Mean Mr. Mustard's older sister...yeah...I don't know where I'm going with that...

Naughty Nurses

Cool. Next time LissyJo is in Arizona, she can go to the Heart Attack Grill, "a theme restaurant whose specialties include the Quadruple Bypass Burger and Flatliner Fries, cooked in pure lard".

"the waitresses' naughty nurse uniforms...skimpy, cleavage-baring outfits, high heels and thigh-high stockings — a male fantasy that some nursing organizations say is an insult to the profession."
Um....wouldn't nurse* complaints be less ironic if the spokeperson wasn't someone with the name "Sandy Summers"? I think that was the name of Tall Brad's dancer last weekend.

And I truly hope the nurse talking about not sexualizing professionals has never been to a bachelorette party with a firefighter or fantasized about a guy in military uniform or a cowboy... I do understand the difference, but it's getting to be less of a point these days. I don't think I'd ever make that statement - it would just come back to bite me.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Et al.

If you're not a regular reader of my sister, I recommend at least this post. I fail to see how she can hold me responsible for her terror of haunted houses when she terrorizes my niece by making her sit on the laps of strange fat men. Big brothers are supposed to be sort of jerks now and then...mothers are a different story.

Speaking of Christmasy things...I've been reading and enjoying this blog by J-Money of North Carolina lately, who I found via Planet Dan's comments. In particuar, I was highly amused about this post about a pastry, this post with a link to the New Kids on the Block singing Funky Funky Christmas (that's the Christmasy part - sister LissyJo, referenced earlier, was a huge NKotB fan), and this post because my friend Mean Mr. Mustard's boss could be substituted into the picture and I'd think it was just as funny, if not funnier.

Place Your Hand...

Pooteewheet blogged about Ellison and the Qu'ran controversy, but I particularly enjoyed rew's bit on Power Liberal because it has the reference to the New Ulm Journal, and my friend Klund lives very close to New Ulm. While it might be argued that St. Peter is at least some distance from the home of Schell's Brewery, it's not so far that I've haven't biked from Klund's front yard to Schell's (now defunct) Summerfest. Note that it involved almost-nudity in his yard (sure...mine...yuck, but still, nudity) and almost dying on the ride home because it was so freaking hot - get some damn trees, it's not an interstate!

Via rew:
"First, the story of Congressman-elect Keith Ellison swearing on the Qu'ran has moved into the rural papers. The New Ulm Journal, the only paper in the 1st District to endorse the Republican Congresional candidate in the last election, has written an op/ed piece supporting Ellison's right to swear by whatever is sacred to him. And according to the new blog Forum Focus, which is dedicated to tracking the 20 Forum papers located in Minnesota, Dennis Prager's original column attacking Ellison ran last week in the Morris Sun Tribune but none of the AP or MCclatchy wire follow-ups ever ran."

Day Off - Literama

I took the day off. Did I do anything productive? Not a thing - not even going to a movie, like I had originally planned (I was going to see Tenacious D and the Pick of Destiny, but decided I just didn't want to until I could watch it with Kyle). I simply sat at the coffee shop and read, and read, and read. I read through breakfast, and I read through lunch - blueberry muffin and coffee for one, chicken wild rice soup and coffee for the other.

I really enjoyed the third book by Jasper Fforde in the Thursday Next series, The Well of Lost Plots. It was much better than the second in the series, in my opinion. I particularly liked it when they were discussing an upgrade to the book imagination system as a move from the 8-plot story system to the 32-plot story system. Obviously dated, otherwise Fforde would be talking about 64-plot story systems. With a 2+ gig memory space, you could really lay out some plots. I also enjoyed it when they discovered the missing punctuation from the last chapter of Ulysses and identified it by the traces of Guinness sticking to it. Funny.

Interlude: while I was at Dunn Brothers, I was sure this guy at the coffee shop asked the coffee folks which of them wanted to be "The Virgin of the Month". This greatly confused me, and struck me as something I should put on Overheard in Minneapolis. After I while I came to the conclusion that I'd misheard "Merchant of the Month". I'm going to stick with that.

Inbetween every few chapters of The Well of Lost Plots, I read bits of Orbiting the Giant Hairball. Dunn Brothers has a "take a book, and maybe leave a book if you have one or feel like it" policy for their bookshelf. Generally (as noted in a previous post), said bookshelf is full of right wing fiction and books about improving your relationship with Jesus (believe it or not, my relationship with Jesus is perfect...), but Orbiting the Giant Hairball: A Corporate Fool's Guide to Surviving with Grace by Gordon MacKenzie was an oddity. It was particularly odd as only two days earlier I'd picked it up off the shelf at the corporate library and thought it looked interesting, but that I probably didn't have the time. I don't believe there's anything special to coincidence, but I'm gullible for repetition. The book is by a former Hallmark employee who talks about his opinions on corporate culture and how it can be improved. It reads like a blog and encompasses aspects of the few courses and books on managing I've read, from discarding masks at meetings, to giving creativity space to grow, to how creativity is subject to becoming institutionalized. It's enjoyable for me, because I've begun to have been involved with enough departments/groups over the course of my career that I can see aspects of it in my employment environment. Maybe that's not enjoyable...maybe it's just interesting.

Interlude: Eryn just got up and used the bathroom - we're moved to potty training for #1 and #2. I asked, "Are you going to poop?" She replied, "No. I'm pooping." Maybe it's only funny if you majored in English.

I discovered there's a fourth book in the Thursday Next series, so I'm going to finish off Jasper Fforde's whole series, just for the sake of completion. I'll consider it one 1600-page book rather than four 400-page books. I don't think I want to read his Nursery Crimes book(s), although he self-references within The Well of Lost Plots. Very Stephen King. I have to apologize to Mean Mr. Mustard, as I bought the first three books at Half Price and loaned (am loaning) them to him, but he'll have to library the final one. But before I dive into the last book, I found Schrodinger's Ball by Adam Felber at the library (while in search of the aforementioned fourth book). Yes, the same Adam Felber of Fanatical Apathy, if you're familiar with his blog. Eat your heart out, Mean Mr. Mustard.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Jesus Camp

Addendum: well, LissyJo is right, that disappeared pretty damn fast. Guess you have to be watching my blog at all hours of the night... courtesy of Rex at Fimoculous, you can watch the whole of Jesus Camp online...that's just cool. I hope it lasts longer than a day. If you have the time, watch it - Pooteewheet and I really enjoyed it.

Christmas Tree 2006

We put up our lights (internal - I despise crawling around on a ladder in the cold - that's just dangerous), our stuffed and glass Christmas doohickeys, and our faux tree. Here's Eryn hanging one of my Marvin the Martian ornaments. This picture, with its cloth and string ornaments is deceptive - our tree is littered with Halmark ornaments - one for every year for everyone. We could probably decorate two trees if necessary, but it's easier just to rotate ornaments. That's right, we don't put all of them up - quality, not quantity.

While hanging was done with pants, tree construction was not. At least not for Eryn. You can breath a sigh of relief that I was wearing jeans and my Mexican pullover, not underpants and boots.

Here's some video, in case you need to see our tree construction in action...

Christmas weekend requires a healthy supply of cookies.

And bunny rides. Lots of bunny rides. Look - her socks match her shirt - we're good parents!

Bug Fungus

Pharyngula had a great video up yesterday about fungi that invade insects. It's so disgusting it's cool. That's not part of the bug sticking out of the ant's head below, it's a mushroom with a mission. It's more obvious in the second picture. And the shrooms aren't growing after the bug is dead - they're the cause de morte. If I understand my science right, this is a primo example of the Red Queen in action - an arms race with fungi where the currently victorious bug of the forest becomes the one most likely to suffer at the...slime...of fungi and disease. Wheet.

Scooter's Bike Room

Someone took a picture of some shelf the other day on their blog, and explained how it was rather indicative of their personality...I shall do the same here, but with a picture of half a room. This is my bike room. You can click on it for a much larger picture. What does it say about me? I'll describe everything, and you can make your own assumptions. Those two pictures on the wall - those are from early Tours - the riders are drinking and smoking while they cycle through France. Pooteewheet got them for me as a present. I think it took her a full year to finally get the frames correct. You can't see it, but there's a signed picture of Lance in the room as well, courtesy of my father-in-law and eBay.

There are no less than three Marvin the Martian items on the shelf...make that four - a dog toy, a cup and bowl set, a sippy cup and a pencil box. Eryn has a matching pencil box she keeps her treaures in. Left hand side - two darts sticking out of a dartboard - won it at the American Legion raffle in Monticello, along with some glassware for the kitchen we still use. The bike is there, of course, on a heavy duty stand that holds up to my size. I've had it since at least the early 90s, probably more like 1989. The bike is just as old, a steel frame Bianchi Brava - it's the first bike I really bought completely on my own. It was expensive for me when I had to spend my whole tax rebate on it. The water bottle is from the TCBC bike club. Pile of bills in the corner - my taxes, Pooteewheet's receipts, and receipts for the rental business. You can see Turbotax on the shelf to handle all that junk.

Back to the shelf...two beer steins and a few mugs from the Renaissance festival. I do drink. Two castles - one isn't from my period of study, the other is - if you can't tell the difference, cardinals, like Cardinal Wolsey, whose house was later owned by Henry VIII, wore red. I've been to that castle - met the most attractive French woman I've ever seen on the train, and I've seen more than one. Tells you something about my priorities that I was more concerned about whether I'd be able to hit the National Portrait musem in the same day. Video camera - the digital camera does fine for YouTube videos, but we need something quality as well. That thing cost way too much when I bought it - we were ahead of the curve. It's Eryn's fault for being born too early for cheap video.

Notebooks - to keep track of miles on the trainer. Steel ape bank. I like old steel banks. I like new steel banks, reproductions...they're just as cool, just not as expensive. Video games - war and turn based...I'm too old for that fast crap. Pewter wizards from my friend Dan'l, from our war gaming days when we used to spend weekends drinking and carousing in South Dakota. Lots and lots of books, including history (Rape of Nanking), fiction (Story of Pi, White City), Utopic/Dystopic literature (Communitas), Scifi (Ellison), physics, liberalism (red state criticism), bookcover from a Korean adoptee book, Spanish (which I'm trying to learn), and a book on Saints (I'm not Catholic, but I think religion as literature is interesting). Bookmark from my time reading to the kids at a local elementary school. Unity paperweight for the first big project I did for my current employer, although I was a consultant at the time. Guitar strings for the guitar on the left that Erik gave me that I have a lessons advertisement for on the fridge. Dice bag full of dice from my D&D days. And if you look very carefully on the left, those are the edges of Eryn's Dance Dance Revolution mats, the first thing she ever bought for herself.

Most definitely my room.