26 July 2009

Let's review again. Reverence means...

During church, my wife had to leave the chapel so she could sit herself somewhat more comfortably on the couch in the foyer. She took the reverent three-year-old with her and shrewdly left the other three with me. Most of my time and attention was taken up by trying to distract the two-year-old howler monkey using my chair and lap as a launching pad for his acrobatic antics. Consequently, I unwittingly left my oldest boy and girl sitting next to each other. Fortunately, we had brought Magna Doodles for them to draw on and I only had to threaten them with grounding for life a few times to keep them roughly in line.

However, as the meeting was drawing to a close and during one of those random quiet moments, my 5-year-old girl loudly exclaimed, “Ew! He drew a butt crack with poop coming out!” Instantly I flushed (no pun intended) with embarrassment. Since my children and I were now the object of everyone’s attention for three rows behind and in front of us, I offered a sickly smile and snatched away then erased the offending artwork (which yes, was indeed drawn as advertised).

After the meeting, I escorted my children to nursery/primary then joined my wife in the foyer. Seeking a measure of sympathy, I relayed the uncomfortable event to her. She replied by laughing hysterically. And no, I do not mean a simple chuckle. This was uncontrolled, shameless laughing. She may even have peed her pregnant self a little bit. Well, no sympathy there, but I did feel a bit better. Thanks honey. :)

24 July 2009

Word of the Day

Thanks to the Random Word Generator (Plus), your random obscure noun for the day is "nonsuccessiveness." Microsoft Word underlines it with the red squiggly of death. has no idea what it means. A Google search comes up with about 202 results -- most of which seem to be links to online dictionaries stating "no entries found." Wow, that is obscure.

So what does it mean?

21 July 2009

New Trainees

Today I introduced two new students to the Launch Control Center (LCC) Minuteman Procedures Trainer (MPT). (A simulator for pulling nuclear alert duty).

During the first hour these two were bright eyed and generally lost. During the second hour they were just lost. The third hour introduced a hint of doom and gloom into their souls. By the fourth hour all energy had been drained from their frames, and the fifth hour left them as walking zombies. Now the sixth hour, yes the sixth hour is when I extracted their souls, placed them carefully in jars and told them to go home and study more or they would never see them again. (Insert evil laugh here).

Well, maybe it wasn’t quite that bad for them, but we do operate on the fire hose effect here – pushing a TON of information at them in a very short time and expecting them to soak it all up without losing a drop. Oh, and it’s my job to make sure they do. Let the fun begin.

20 July 2009

It sounded better in my head… and probably should have stayed there.

My wife is about 31 weeks pregnant with twins. One day when the aches and pains were particularly bad she described exactly how uncomfortable she felt. Every organ, joint, and nerve seemed to be battling her. Hmmm, I thought, isn’t there is a word to describe when the ones that normally work for you suddenly decide to take up arms and fight against you? Ah yes, I remembered. What did I say to my pregnant wife? “Your body is revolting.”

19 July 2009

Sometimes Ignorance Really is Bliss


I've used it numerous times throughout my life in phrases such as, "You dingleberry!" But I can honestly say I never knew what it meant until today. To all of you who were ever the intended recipient of such a phrase -- please accept my sincere apology. I did not know what I was saying.


My three-year-old just walked up to me and stated,
"Daddy, we eat dead fish."

Well, yes. But... ew.
Some things just shouldn't be said a certain way.


18 July 2009

Woof: an update

At the behest of my wife, I confronted the dog owners today. We opted for the neighborly approach and made some cookies, which I took over apologizing for not introducing ourselves earlier... Oh, and by the way, did they have any good tips for calming their dogs when they bark incessantly?

She saw right through the cookie-coating. Much to my dismay, she too was pregnant and about as tolerant of me coming over as my pregnant wife was of me not going over. The hormones were raining down on me like acid and I wanted to cry out like the witch at the end of the Wizard of Oz, "I'm melting! I'm melting!" But I didn't because I wouldn't have actually melted and instead would have still been standing there on the porch looking awfully stupid. That would have certainly upped the awkward factor.

I decided to cut my losses and reemphasize the point that we had wanted to introduce ourselves and as a very minor sub-point were hoping they could give us a tip or two for helping their dogs be quieter on the rare occasions they might happen to go on a barking frenzy. Thankfully, she warmed up a bit after we discussed her other child (a one-year-old babbling at us from the living room). We are now fully authorized to yell, "shut up!" at her dogs and/or spray water over the fence should the occasion require. It's the small victories... right?

Completely Random

Did you realize that turnip spelled backwards is pinrut? Now you know.

Unfortunately, it is entirely possible this bid of random useless information just pushed out some bit of helpful information from your already at-capacity brain. You know, like how you can only fit so many penguins on an iceberg. Eventually you get to the point where if you add one, one also has to jump/fall off.

Speaking of penguins...

I warned you it was completely random... and you chose to read it anyway. Random.

If you go to

Bribe, threaten, negotiate, reason... whatever it takes, just PLEASE go to sleep.

Sometimes it is necessary to think of something spur-of-the-moment to induce a desire in your children to finally check-out for the night. Upon arriving home from work late last night, I learned that my wife had promised the children a treasure hunt in the morning. Don't worry, she assured me, all I had to do was come up with clues, hiding locations and figure out a treasure before I went to bed.

:) <---- (that's her "I know you won't let the children down" smile)

So, I drew up some clues (only my oldest can read so everything has to be visual), hid them around the house, and at the suggestion of my helpful wife made some drawing books out of happy yellow paper (complete with personalized covers).

You would have thought it was Christmas morning. Nikki had told the kids they couldn't do the treasure hunt until 7 a.m. so we had to send expectant little ones back to bed a few times. Finally the moment arrived and a couple wide-eyed youngsters, trailed by a very sleepy and disoriented 3-year old, zipped from clue to clue and exclaimed happily upon discovering the ultimate treasure. Thank goodness they are easily impressed.

17 July 2009


If a dog barks in the night and there is no one to hear it does it make a sound?

Yes. The answer is undoubtedly yes. Dogs are nothing if not noisy. Especially dogs left home alone. For a long time. At night. For a long time. When people want to be sleeping… For a long time.

Shut up dog!

16 July 2009

Pick your Poison

If you had to choose between two sleep disorders to live with for one year, insomnia or narcolepsy, which would you pick?

For those unfamiliar with these ailments, here are the dictionary definitions:

Insomnia – Inability to obtain sufficient sleep, esp. when chronic; difficulty in falling or staying asleep; sleeplessness.

Narcolepsy – A disorder characterized by sudden and uncontrollable, though often brief, attacks of deep sleep, sometimes accompanied by paralysis and hallucinations.

For the very adventurous type, perhaps you would like to be narcoleptic insomniacs, or as they are known in obscure medical circles, narcomniacs. This is not to be confused with narcomaniacs who have an abnormal craving for a drug to deaden pain. However, narcomniacs may turn to drugs to try and deaden the emotional pain of always falling asleep but never being able to stay asleep long enough to do any good. These poor souls would then be categorized as narcomniac narcomaniacs.

I digress. Back to the original question: insomniac or narcoleptic? You choose.

15 July 2009

Customer Disservice

What do you get when you take customer service, subtract the service and ignore the customer?

I recently had one of those customer service experiences that had little to do with customers and nothing to do with service. We are about two months into our first experience with limited (15 GB/month) high-speed internet service. Since we have only had unlimited usage before, I had no idea how much we would need. The cable company representative said the average household doesn’t go above 15, and since it is an extra fee for more I decided to start there.

After the first full month and several phone calls to figure out how to track our usage, I found out we had used 81 GB in a month. Not to worry – we could continue at this rate for only an extra $100/month. Ouch. That was not going to work. Even if I had to pay some sort of early cancellation fee it would be cheaper to try and find a service provider offering unlimited usage. I found one (Verizon), but at a speed of about 1/3 what we are currently getting. However, I figured it was better to have a slower connection and be able to use what we need.

So, I gave Verizon a call. The Verizon rep. (I’ll call him Gary) took about five minutes to collect my name, phone number, email address, home address, sock size and political affiliation just to tell me what services they had to offer in my area (the same services I found online in about one minute using only my home address). He confirmed that it was unlimited service, but said it had to be bundled with a home phone line. Normally this would not have surprised me except for the fact that their web page said they had the bundled service available or the option to get only internet for a slightly increased price over what you would pay with an existing Verizon phone line. When I brought this to Gary’s attention, he conceded that they did in fact offer the stand-alone service, but it wasn’t a good option since it used packet switching technology. Perhaps this explanation would have thwarted the unwary layman, but for the technologically informed, we know this is how the internet itself is structured. Hence, bundled or not it uses packet switching.

I didn’t want to be on the phone longer than necessary, so I decided to give Gary a free pass on this one. I explained that I did not need the phone line since I used Voice over Internet Provider (VoIP) and had already prepaid for two years of service. Consequently, the internet only option came out cheaper. He queried how much a month I was spending on the VoIP – I told him, reminding him that I had already prepaid. He countered telling me that for only a few more dollars a month I could get the bundled service from Verizon to include home phone line and internet service.

Now it all made sense, all I had to do was pay more money for an unnecessary service and my life would be complete. Was this guy formerly a televangelist or did he only speak telemarketer? Since I didn’t need to be saved that particular morning, I decided to let that one slide too and moved on to the more important subject at hand. He had quoted a price for the internet service about $15 more a month that that listed online. Had I misread something? I asked Gary (you’d think I would have know better). He assured me that over the phone they had the best pricing available. Did he even hear me? How then did he explain the pricing discrepancy? He didn’t. He simply said that I could contact my local Verizon branch but it would probably cost me a little bit more if I took that route.

Now don’t take me for one of those “the customer is always right” cultists, but I do believe that customer service should involve some measure of human dignity and common sense. Please do not treat me like a misinformed Californian tourist asking a prepubescent convenience store clerk which highway will get me to Hawaii quickest. But if you do, be forewarned I have a blog, and am not afraid to use it! Someday someone somewhere just might read about your incompetence. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

13 July 2009

Opinion o⋅pin⋅ion /əˈpɪnyən/ [uh-pin-yuhn]

Have you ever met one of those people who have an opinion about everything? I find it interesting how their opinions are quite obviously the only acceptable ones and how dare you or anyone else feel differently! They have a favorite sports teams – which might be having a rough year, but are still the best because of a dozen detailed (while logically flimsy) arguments. In fact, it would be unpatriotic to like any other sports teams. And speaking of patriotism they know just how to stop the war in Iraq in a month or two with little to no negative side effects, and the war on terror might be a little more complicated so it would likely take them six months or so to wrap up. Yes, if the military and government would only listen to their enlightened ideas the national deficit would be resolved in a year or two and the energy crisis would be over next month. You heard right – next month. After all, the technology already exists to power our vehicles and homes using animal feces and carbon dioxide, but the oil companies have thus far successfully bought-off and/or otherwise silenced all with knowledge of this valuable technology.
Now while these people are subject matter experts on nearly every facet of life, they do not claim to be know-it-alls. No, they will most humbly admit that their expertise is lacking in certain areas, but not to worry, those are the trivialities of life, not worthy of the true devotion of their mental prowess.

If you have not yet had the pleasure of engaging in fine conversation with one of these individuals, consider the following advice:

  • Nod and smile, but whatever you do don’t verbally agree or disagree with anything they say

  • If circumstances force you to speak, don’t bother trying to discuss anything of value – stick to safe topics that shouldn’t burn more than an hour or so of your time like whether it is best to use a #2 pencil or a pen when taking a test, or whether it would hurt more to fall ten feet onto a concrete surface face first or feet first

  • Be wary of using impromptu excuses to get out of the discussion – such a simple statement as “well, I’ve got to run” could very well lead into a lengthy discussion on how you are not likely to be running anywhere, but rather walking or driving and how the English language has been perverted over the years – likely a result of illegal immigration (which they’ll get to in a moment

  • While tempting, it isn’t a good idea to fake narcolepsy as this is time consuming to do properly and will likely result in your new acquaintance accompanying you to the hospital where he or she will edify you with a lengthy monologue on how to fix our broken health care system

Perhaps the best advice I can offer is to stay mentally strong. Regardless of your opinion of their opinions, if you can keep silent and endure, the discomfort will last only for a short time until they move on for another more talkative victim. Just remember that as my high school English teacher used to say, “Opinions are like armpits. Everyone has a couple, and they usually stink.”


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