Saturday, May 28, 2005

The long hot summer

It's Memorial Day weekend. What are YOU doing?

Me? I'm contemplating a summer without original network programming. LOST is over, Smallville too, Desperate Housewives, whoop-dee-do? So, now what to do?

Maybe some long-delayed quality time with my kids. (I've just been informed that I have two of them and neither one is named "Hurley" or "Lex," or even "Chloe." So, clearly I've got some catching up to do.

But, there is still work to be done. My office job will be heating up as the summer rolls along and it's clear that I've got some skillz to pay my bills. So, there is always that. But since Memorial Day is the semi-official start of the summer season, then that means finding other things to do than watch TV.

But that doesn't mean I won't be writing about it. The networks have been busily deciding what new shows to promote for fall release and then kill by Halloween. So, I've got a duty to tell you about them before you find out they died a public, shameful death.

Look for reports on the network "upfront" meetings, which have occurred in the last few weeks. You'll get links to show information written by people on other websites that are better writers on this stuff than me. But I'll toss in my 1.5 cents when I feel more discussion is needed. Of course, you can get this information from just about anywhere, but why not get it from me? Who ya gonna trust? National media or some guy that won't even give out his real name?

So, there is that to look forward to. And there will be more to discuss as the summer rolls along. Reviews of summer movies, if Tegan and I can get to any. (Star Wars, Episode III: Revenge of the Sith will be viewed next week.) And later this summer T and I will be visiting in San Francisco for our surgery-delayed 10th anniversary trip. We'll have a laptop by then, so I might be posting audioblogs while we walk through Chinatown or typing up quick entries while driving through Napa Valley. The possibilities are endless really.

And there will be more things besides.

Come to think of it, this entry is sort of my WWYG?! upfront. A promise of things to come. Let's hope some of it comes true.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Is everything old new again?

I had a good time this past Saturday with some old friends.

Old Navy and ER came down and threw an honest-to-goodness wedding reception two months later for all of her former colleagues and slacker friends who didn't bother to trek up to Vermont in March for the big wedding day.

Now that's friendship!

Sure, there were lots of "other" people--like Old Navy's Ohio/Michigan family and assorted others, but it was us (the aforementioned former colleagues and slacker friends) that mattered most.

Everyone dressed up really nice for the occasion. The weather was great and the food was also pretty good. It was nice to see old friends who have moved away and some that I don't see as often as I would like.

Unfortunately, as is true of what I remember from my own wedding reception, you talk to people but don't have enough time to really "talk" to everyone and catch up. So, I come away a bit dissatisfied, feeling that I wasted an opportunity.

Tonight, however, I took advantage of an opportunity. To avoid working (which is sitting in front of me right now taunting me mercilessly) I started going through our picture stored in My Pictures. I don't know about you, but the My Pictures folder is a mess--unorganized, unlabelled, unkempt. So, I started plowing through the last five years of digital images--basically the bulk of the pictures that we have taken since having children.

I didn't get anywhere near finished, but I made a good start at asserting my dominance over my pictorial past. And in the process, I found some cool pictures, which I might share a bit from time to time--you know, to hide the fact that I can't find compelling stuff to blog about. (I mean, who would want to read: "Stared at computer all day. Tried to understand ridiculously large project that must get underway yesterday. Running out of time. Can't properly write documents. Came home, ate dinner, put kids to bed, avoided work by watching TV, didn't blog." Would THAT be any fun?)

So, here is image number 1 for tonight (as soon as I pause here to tell Ariel to stop making so much noise and get to sleep . . . and that is done.)

So, here is image 1:

This was taken at our old house and captures a moment of patriotism amongst my friends. I used to have all kinds of parties at the old house and hope to keep on having them. This particular party was around the Fourth of July, which explains the moment of reverence for Old Glory. Then we went back to playing Frisbee. I think Tegan took the picture, but I don't know who was cut off on the left side of the frame. Then from left to right you see former colleague CFish (as Shirtless recently dubbed him), me in yellow, former colleague SBeck, Jack Thunder and Cordelia, and a rare Perk sighting.

Here is image number 2:

Here is Ariel photographed around May or early June in 2002. She was almost two at that point and was stubbornly holding onto her "baby fat." Ruth is currently at the age that Ariel is shown here and discounting for the straight or curly hair, there are strong similarities in their appearance. Ariel has grown a lot taller in the last three years and now, of course look more like a young girl than a toddler.
Ariel always loved to surround herself with books, much more so than Ruth ever has consistently wanted to. But to each their own.

And, now I will try to work . . . or maybe I'll just watch American Chopper on TV. Ah, life is full!

Friday, May 20, 2005

The Picture of Everything

When I heard that someone claimed to have A Picture of Everything on the web, I knew that I had to check it out.

The simple hubris that entails this project is awe-inspiring. Who can claim to produce a picture that encompasses everything?

I give the artist credit, however, for doing a good job of cramming stuff in there and for providing a useful web design that allows you to appreciate the myriad of people, objects, etc.

But, the philosophical conundrum remains.

It can't be a picture of EVERYTHING. Sure, it has the members of TLC. It has Pokemon (even identified by correct number!).

It's got Beck and Count Chocula and Roger Ebert; its got the Village People and the Mona Lisa.

It's got the pyramids.

It's got Tupac and the Notorious B.I.G. living in Gangsta' rap heaven.

It's got the Partridge Family bus, Voltron, and Jim Morrison.

But is it constantly being updated?

Does it have anything besides pop culture icons and other boringly famous stuff?

I doubt it, but I haven't examined it all--certainly not.

All I can say is keep working, but hold off on claiming EVERYTHING . . . at least until you have a picture of good ole Burb typing a new post for Why Won't You Grow?!

Then, you'll have it all--or at least everything you'll ever need.

Go down the rabbit hole here. Happy hunting.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

A guide to Episode III for non-geeks.

Adam Rogers of has helpfully provided a brief (and alphabetical) listing of all things that are necessary to see Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith and enjoy yourself.

You can read it here. It's quite good (as Obi-Wan might say).

After you have improved your knowledge set regarding the movie, then read David Edelstein's review of the movie--also at He comes off satisfied, if a bit "luke"-warm. (You like that? I just made it up?!)

But you can also read the New York Times review, which is surprisingly more supportive.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

The funniest thing I've ever blogged? That's what Lulu said.

To see this wonderful bit of word-smithery, follow this link and read the comments.

(I don't care if you read the actual post.)

Too bad I'm never that funny on this site.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

"This is the Sound . . . of Dinner"

this is an audio post - click to play

Other creative notions by Ariel

It has been a sort of clean up weekend.

Tegan has been working hard, weeding in the back yard flower beds. I got the grass cut today once the weather cooperated. Also, I cleaned up around our computer desk and recycled a lot of old papers and stuff cluttering up our filing cabinet. Tegan also got a lot of clothes shifted from the basement up to the bedroom closets and moved tubs of clothes out of bedrooms and down into the basement.

Ariel kept herself occupied this afternoon by creating another interesting bit of artwork. You can see it below.

It is hard to see here, but it consists of several small pieces of paper, each individually featuring an animal and taped to a larger piece of paper. Why she chose to write Sarah on each piece of paper remains a mystery.
Those in the art world would say that Ariel has now shifted into what is known as "mixed media." It won't be long before she is crafting small models of the Bilbao Guggenheim and other amazing things that will make her famous but earn her little money.

But, maybe she'll be famous as an actress or as a "wire-actress." Don't believe me? Then check out THIS photo (sure to embarrass her when she gets older).

This beauty was taken when she was playing at a friends house a few weeks ago. Where she learned to mimic the beauty and grace of martial arts experts, I don't know. But let this be a lesson to you all. If you try and cross me, I'll send Ariel to go Matrix on you.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Fishing for advice

I assume that you have heard of "fishing"?

It's a technique in which spammers and identify theft crooks use. These ner-do-wells create emails that mimic national bank chains, or Amazon, or other commonly used on-line places; the unsuspecting victim receives said email, which instructs the victim to click on this link, and go to site so-and-so to update their account information or something like that. Then, faster than you can say "a bustier that lifts and separates" the crooks have your vital info and can book their next trip to Aruba on your dime.

Why do I bring this up? Have I become an ID theft victim?

No, but the possibility is making me worried, man (and a bit paranoid).

I received a flyer in the mail. It looks EXACTLY like something my credit card company would send me. The flyer is telling me to take advantage of their new list of select merchants that allow me to earn more cash-back points if I purchase in their establishments, using my card.

But I have to register the card to begin the accumulation and associated tracking of points. To do that I have to go to the credit card site and register my card.

That's no problem, however, since I have already registered my card with the credit card company's online site--since that is how I pay my bill each month. So, I go to the same site that I use to pay my bill, put in my user name and password, then I have to click on the particular link to register my card for this new level of reward points.

As I was preparing to do this, the specter of ID crooks and "fishers" [No offense intended towards you, Shirtless!] arose in my head. Was I falling for their scheme? Was this new site (off of the regular credit card company site) simply a ruse?

But it can't be, right? Do these ID theft guys have the money to do print mailings? Isn't fishing usually done with much cheaper emails? And didn't I have to go though and identify myself on the credit card site that I always use to pay my bills?

This is on the up-and-up, right? I'm just not sure . . . any advice?

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Big doin's

First of all, I can announce that our roof was totally redone all in one day--today! The workers showed up this morning about 7:15 and promptly started tearing off the old shingles. By the time we got home from work this evening, it was all over. A new roof, in one day, courtesy of the fine folks at Scott Roofing. Call 231-ROOF the next time YOU need roofing repairs. Our roof is so neat and clean, you can eat off of it. Come on over everyone and eat off of my roof! (So, that means goodbye item #1 on my list of 101 in 1001. Woo Hoo!!)

Second, can I admit something? Newsweek has recently instituted something in its magazines--a weekly page called The Technologist, where Steven Levy talks about new digital advances, new consumer technologies on the market, etc., etc. Well, there is also a recurring item on this page called "Blog Watch." While I feel absolutely ludicrous saying this, each week I open the magazine and wonder if WWYG?! will be mentioned. Isn't that the stupidest thing that I have ever committed to disk space on this blog? (At least until I type a little further in this post.) It wouldn't be so bad if every week there wasn't mention of someone's blog that is hosted by Blogger on blogspot. Never mind that Blogger (owned by Google) is probably the most widely used hosting area by the blogging public. It's one-stop shopping, the Ford of the blog-o-verse. I mean, if I started here, then that tells you something. But I digress . . .

Third, I must confess that today was an interesting day at work. I found out that I am in charge of a great deal of stuff for the next several months (and when I mean a lot, I mean EVERYTHING). While most of my departmental colleagues are planning ahead for another year down the road, I have been given management of all the products to be completed by the start of January. While the total number of items seems large (and the myriad of details and items to track and complete IS large) the volume of completely brand new stuff is not so daunting--or so I chant softly to myself starting . . . NOW.

I am gratified by the trust placed in me, which I will now show should be revoked by making a mockery of the entire affair . . . by ushering in the

(or, if you like, the year of the Burb)

If I am in charge then let's do it up Burb style, what do you say? A great deal of awesomely bad ideas floated through my head today--Burb-a-palooza tee shirts was a instant notion. There is a great picture of Hayden Christiansen (that's Darth Vader to the rest of you) in last week's Newsweek that I could use to make great tee shirts. Imagine this:
On the front, this image of Vader's head and the phrase "Sith Happens"

On the back it could say "Join the Dark Side: Burb-a-palooza 2K7"

But, if tee shirts aren't your bag, then how about slogans? Here are some that I thought of (and if you don't get some of these jokes, my apologies. Email me and I'll:try to explain the reference.):
1. All Surly Burb, all the time.
2. Please Burb, don't hurt 'em.
3. Sweater vests and crack for everyone!
4. R.O.C.K. in the PRPL 33 (think John Cougar Mellencamp)
5. Burb-a-palooza . . . if not now, when?
6. You say tomato; I say booyah! You say potato; I say booyah!
7. 2007: My year (and therefore your year) in HELL!
9. Burb-a-palooza: It makes the Third Reich look cuddly!

So, yeah . . . I didn't say they were any good, just that I had thought about it. But I've got other ideas. I found a cardboard Burger King crown that my kids recently picked up and was trying to think of a funny way to work the idea of a crown into the whole humiliating effort when I noticed a web-site printed on the side of the crown above the weirdly shaped cartoon characters.

Since I am unable to pass up the chance to visit an unknown website, I checked it out. It's rather odd, but honest in its efforts to brainwash.

So, anyway, that's it for now. Keep checking back here . . . your official site on the information superhighway for the ongoing excitement that is

Burb-a-palooza 2K7!!!

(Honestly, if I don't stop writing crap like this, I'll never get noticed by Newsweek.)

Monday, May 09, 2005

The Company 12 Some other group 11

Tegan participated in her first corporate softball game tonight after work.

I took the kids to get some food and then we drove on over the the park to watch them play. I don't think Ariel and Ruth got into too much, but I hope they appreciated seeing Mommy in a slightly different setting, doing something for herself. (I know that I enjoyed it, and Tegan said she had a good time as well.)

And it helps that she had a good game. She was on base several times, scored at least twice, and drove in a run on a fielder's choice. She had a bit more trouble playing right field, but only messed up one time.

Plus the company softball jerseys were easily the nicest of any team that I saw playing on the several fields.

So, all in all a nice, different sort of evening.

The Shirtless Experience . . . He LIVES!

My good friend and co-worker Shirtless Wonder has broken out of his blogging cocoon and posted TWICE over the weekend.

If he keeps it up, I might even list him on my sidebar column Sites of Interest . . . so there is some incentive for him.

Let's all root for him to continue. We need even more voices in the blog-o-verse.

You can access his site with this link.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

The Mother's Day entry

Today is the day that Hallmark tells us to say hello to Mom, to stop and say thanks for all the hard work, all the advice, all the guidance; thanks for all the late nights cleaning up after us when we were sick; thanks for driving us here and there.

My mom did all of those things.

But all day I have been trying to think of special moments between me and Mom.

One of the first was when I was approximately 8. I came home from school and discovered that Mom had restyled her hair that day while I was gone. Her hair was permed up and distinctly different than what it had previously been. I reacted with something like horror and broke down crying right there in the kitchen. Why? I really don't remember, but I would like to officially apologize for my crass behavior.

Another memory I have is one summer day when I guess I was around 8 or 10. I was upset that day about having to wear my imobilizer orthopedic devices on my legs. (They kept my knees straight, giving me a slightly Frankensteinish walk; they were all straps and looked kind of like the outfit that Mila Jovovich work throughout most of The Fifth Element.) But, I was in a bad mood about wearing these things and was being generally hard on myself, working on a very good persecution complex. Mom was very patient (moreso that I might be with my kids, sometimes) and talked me calmly through my anger and frustration. I don't really remember a lot of what she said, but I know it helped me feel better that day.

I remember Mom fixing hot bowls of chili on Friday nights in the fall, after a football game at the high school. Even though the chili had spaghetti in it, it warmed me up. I remember the many birthday cakes (and sometimes--by request birthday pies) that she made for me each year. For some reason I have a very clear memory right now of a white-frosted cake with a clown face as decoration. I believe that year my party was held at Fulwood Park.

I remember once on a Saturday morning when I wanted to fix myself an omelet. Mom showed me how to get the eggs started in the pan while I cut onions, green peppers, shredded some cheese. I sprinkled all of those ingredients in the pan and tried to flip the eggs over to create that omelet shape. However, I had overloaded the pan with too many ingredients and rushed the flipping before the eggs had set in the middle. I asked Mom for help and I guess she forgot what I had been trying to do, because she scrambled it all up before realizing that it was originally supposed to be an omelet. She was very sorry; I thought it was funny, and it tasted just as good in the end.

I thought of Mom today while in church. The choir was singing a song that probably was on the O Brother Where Art Thou soundtrack (or should have been). But one member of the choir, a lady in her forties or fifties was bouncing on her heels, swaying in time with the music, clearly enjoying her role in singing that song. I can think of many times I have seen my Mom do the same thing, bouncing in time with the music, singing along, being deeply affected by song. Much of my faith and religion come from her dedication to God, to our hometown church, to the ideals of Christianity.

There are many more memories of Mom that I won't be able to remember right now, but will occur to me before the day is over. Mom is one of the most important women in my life and the one woman who is most responsible for me being the person that I am today.

So, thanks for everything Mom--for all your advice, for being who you are and letting me be who I am, for all the love to me, to my two girls. I appreciate you more than these words can adequately say.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

FLW follow up

A few days ago I posted about my encounter with a local neighborhood influenced by Frank Lloyd Wright.

Tegan's dad read and sent me an email alerting me to another interesting bit of information about Wright; he designed the Community Christian Church in Kansas City, Missouri for this Disciples of Christ group in 1940 after their previous structure had burned down. (Tegan's dad is a Disciples minister.)

As usual, Wright had to struggle to convince the locals that his design would work--and famous egotist that he was, he was convinced that he was absolutely right and they were simply unable to see his vision accurately. Both sides were likely right to some degree.

Anyway, you can read more of the history of this church via this link.

Huge, nerdy, and imprecise. (But this is not about me . . .)

Paul Boutin from has written an interesting thought piece on the on-line (and community-edited) encyclopedia known as Wikipedia. You can read the article by clicking on this post's title.

Since I recently posted my own thoughts on the merits of the film The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, I thought I would provide this article as well.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Walking in the woods with Mr. Wright

Last night Tegan and I took the girls to a couple that we are friends with. They have children almost identical to our own--two boys. We had some hamburgers, talked for a while and then decided to take a walk in their neighborhood to a local elementary school so the kids could play on the playground.

On the way home, the couple informed us that there are several paths through the woods that surround this school and that there is a small, secluded group of houses that were designed by a student of Frank Lloyd Wright.


Ever since I went on a high school science trip to Pennsylvania (when I was 17) I have been a FLW fan. I have read some books, seen some documentaries. I am no scholar certainly, but I really like Wright's design style. It is distinctive, tied to nature, in-your-face.

When we were walking through the pathways between the houses I could tell immediately that these houses were inspired by Wright directly. One of them had the same cantilevered, flattened look as Fallingwater, the house I visited on the science trip in Pennsylvania--the house that introduced me to Wright's architecture. Other houses in the neighborhood has other distinctive touches--all glass corner windows, a careful effort to surround the houses by nature and make the house inhabit the woods rather than force the woods to surround the house.

I have visited another Wright house, the Dana-Thomas house in Springfield, Illinois. Tegan and I visited it while spending a weekend with an old college friend the first summer that we moved to Ohio. I have always wanted to go and see more Wright houses, which are scattered around the country. The most famous building of his, outside of Fallingwater must be the Guggenheim Museum in New York, which I have never seen.

I really enjoyed that small little trip into the woods of central Ohio, unexpectedly touched by Wright. I hear that the homes host a brief tour once a year, so I will definitely try to find out when that is and take advantage.


In other news, I can cross two more items off of my list of 101 things to do in 1001 days. Say goodbye to #s 8 and 63.