Thursday, March 29, 2007

The News

I've been a fan of JibJab since their 2004 "This Land" skit (here's hoping for another good one in 2008). This one is dead on as well.

Without further ado, JibJab's "What we call the News"!

Monday, March 26, 2007

Facing the Demon

My next martial arts exam is a little over two weeks away. This exam has grown in importance to me. As part of my training for this rank I was able to confront one of the demons from my childhood; my fear of letting go.

I stand 6' 2" and have an athletic build. I have no problem picking up an adult and tossing them into the air. I've always been strong, and it has always worried me. I have many memories of "not using much strength" and hurting someone inadvertently.

Superman summed it up well;
"I feel like I live in a world made of cardboard, always taking constant care not to break something, to break someone, never allowing myself to lose control, even for a moment, or someone could die."
It's a demon that has always haunted me. I have always tried to be in constant control. I always visualized it as trying to keep a demon in a box. Problem is the demon is always looking to get out. It presses against the box, finding the smallest crack and lashes out.

Truth is, in bottling it up I made it worse. What happens when you place a sleeve with specific weak points over an explosive? When it explodes the weakpoints collapse first channeling the shockwave. Instead of an occasional "oops" with a normal kid tweak, I would try to push the explosion back through the weak point and then repair the box. I imagine now that the box looks like it was marked fragile and sent through ACME Mailers.

That all changed as I worked toward this rank. I had to learn the real lesson; that control is being able to consciously choose what you do. The difference between the explosion choosing a random weakness and you channeling what you need of it to do what needs to be done.

Even knowing how much I have learned I am nervous worried scared ... I am going to face this demon head on in that test. I will be mentally and physically tired and I will stand up and face it. I will learn exactly what I have learned.

I'm still afraid that I will break some cardboard.

Friday, March 23, 2007


Yeah, that about sums it up....

Monday, March 19, 2007

Bawls + Pepsi = .....

A Monday? Or you can go and see how much Caffeine you've been sucking down over at The Caffeine Database. Originally I remember this list being a lot of fun to look at and compare who had the better caffeine drink, with this release there is a calculator so you can go and see that if you have chugged a Bawls and a Pepsi (regular) you are Alert and have consumed 118mg of caffeine. If your looking for a comparison, that soda intake still hasn't caught up with a cup of coffee - and you coffee drinkers wonder why you can't get started without that addiction! *laughs*

Thursday, March 15, 2007

You're kidding, right?

It was a very nice day yesterday. Nicely in the low 70s, the sun was out and only those wispy clouds you associate with a nice blue sky were present. On my run everything had melted to the point where I was annoyed when I ran across a section that hadn't melted as most everything else had. I put on 3 more miles and watched the people that were also out enjoying the warm spring day.

And tomorrow, it is supposed to snow. Doh.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

And so it begins...

First two miles of this year! I felt less sore yesterday. Finally got out to take advantage of the weather and (re)start running. Between the weather and my own reality, I hadn't been able to get out and run. It was good to get out again. Not too bad for the first run either.

"I'm not dead yet!" *laughs*

Monday, March 12, 2007

Always off by one...

Welcome to the modified DST. If you are stuck with it like we are you had to make this past weekend. Overall it went well, although I am glad we've had some warm weather lately. I forgot one clock in the house - the one that drives my space heater in the basement. Thankfully it was only 59F when I got down here. Not too bad.

Seriously! Last week, even with the heater, the day would start around 55F. Warms up quick enough, but those chilly weeks make it interesting typing.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Odd for me, but....

In a chain-email today I found an interesting tag line. I'm sure a few of you will be shocked I post it... which is a good thing. *grin*
And remember only two defining forces have ever offered to die for you: Jesus Christ and the American Soldier.

One died for your soul, the other for your freedom.
I think our souls are pretty safe, lets hope our soldiers are dying for our freedom and not something else.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

(In)famous quotes

The kids are in high gear on the funny quotes department today. The first one will take a little background. At my martial arts class there are a few of us that are singled out to "received old school training" - in other words we get a bit more abuse than the average student. Where a regular student will only feel the wind from the strike, we'll feel it. Honestly, I consider it a gift - if you learn to fight but never take a hit, how will you survive that day that you are forced to use what you have learned and do get hit?

During February vacation my Daughter and I went to class early to help out. As part of that class she earned a free individual lesson for winning one of the contests in class. She's scheduled to take advantage of that individual lesson this weekend and she and I were talking about what she might learn.

"Perhaps you'll do more of your stick form," I said smiling. "Or perhaps [our master] will just beat on you."

"Yes," she said without looking up from the work she was doing with the refrigerator magnets. If you turned on your universal translator you'd realize that she meant "either sounds good".

"You can tell we go to the same school," I said between chuckles to my wife.

Odd thing to be proud of? Not at all. I am very proud that my daughter has overcome her fear of our instructor and now looks forward to practicing with him. She will learn how to punch and kick, and that will serve her well. Learning to overcome her fears will serve her even better.


The second one goes to my youngest later in the day. We are the landing zone for my wife's brother's first child when they need to go to the hospital to have #2. Since the little one hasn't slept over our house before, we scheduled some time for her to come over and get a taste of it before the big event.

I walked into the kids room to see my wife and youngest playing. I noticed that the portable playpen had been set up and couldn't resist bothering my daughter.

"Do you sleep in there?" I asked her, motioning toward the playpen.

"No," she gave me her already-patented-at-3-years-old 'Dad are you nutz?' look. "That's for crying children."

I couldn't stop laughing...

Wednesday, March 07, 2007


To really understand this story, you have to realize that the music I listen to is mostly "hard stuff". Metallica, Guns'n'Roses, Creed, Godsmack, and so on, you get the idea. Not surprisingly, my kids have grown up around it.

The first hint of this was a few years back when we were in the car and the kids were having an overtired-meltdown. My wife put on a omg-why-are-we-listening-to-this channel of soft, slow tunes. You know the stuff, it's what a typical cartoon or movie puts on when they are lulling the antagonist to sleep. It didn't work on our kids, they were still screaming. I gave my wife a look and slapped in a Metallica CD and turned it up. Within a couple minutes they were asleep.

Yeah, I laughed too, mostly at my wife's "Huh?" expression. Our kids grew up around Metallica, not Barry Manilow, they're used to sleeping through it. Lesson learned, and a trick we use when we need everyone to calm down.

Last night as I was changing out of my gi I hear some Metallica in the background. I thought I had left the radio on in the living room, but as I started walking toward the living room, the music got quieter not louder. I walked back toward the music and it led me into the kids room. I had wondered where my Metallica S&M CD ended up! It was in the kids room, playing on their radio - with all of them soundly asleep.

Monday, March 05, 2007

You're kidding, right?

I got the crapware booted up last week, started patching and doing all the stuff you have to do when the company reformats your HD after a motherboard upgrade. Rah. Nothing unexpected. I get the patching done, shut it off, unplug and get ready to carry it upstairs when I realized I needed to add a few more quick things. So I try to power it up.

Yes. Try to power it up. It wont power up - no LEDs either. Now, by this time I had had it plugged into the AC for at least 12 hours to charge the battery. Nope. Looks like the battery is dead.

Call up Alienware: "Batteries only have a 1 year warranty." Oh, and their tech's saw the bad battery during their inspection of the system and did not tell me. They are willing to send me a new one, in 4-5 days, for an addition $100+S/H! My cost.

I put the rep on hold and walked around to calm myself from going "Drill Instructor" on him as he would likely hang up. Mentally I reviwed the fun: I bought the 3 year on-site agreement that sends has sent no one on-site. I've sent the system back for repairs 4 times, each time taking two to four weeks round trip. Between two of those trips was a half dozen OS rebuilds, by me (remember on-site didn't send anyone on-site) before it was diagnosed as a memory issue and sent back. And, after all this, they wanted to charge me $100 for a battery.

The end result after I refused to pay and wanted to go up the food chain? The battery is being shipped out for free, "only this time". I had hoped they'd take me up on my idea of buying the laptop back and letting us both go our separate ways - no luck there. I guess they figure after the warranty is up (next year) - I can't bother them anymore.

They've got that right: I only make mistakes like this once. They wont get another purchase out of me.


That was one busy week. Held three events last week at our place, then took a small break, and my eldest Daughter and I did a martial arts demonstration with our school to end it all. The family now needs a weekend. Too bad it's Monday already.

Since it is Monday, I'm sure we could all use a small smile. Go check out Drug Dealers vs. Geeks. A simple comparison between Drug Dealers and Geeks.

All I can say is; Damn! Damn! *laughs* Enjoy!