Merry Christmas

Spend time with those most special in your life and try to even get along today with crazy Uncle Melvin. Enjoy the light radiation from my virtual Yule log.

A very merry Christmas from my family to yours.

The Bacon Fairy

I'm leaving my broken frying pan under my pillow tonight!


image credit

The Holidays

When 'Your Fellow Man' becomes the sole obstacle to your future happiness.

Party Geek - Revised

As the holidays draw ever closer, and friends and families are getting together to celebrate, I'm reminded of that oh so universal truth in the world, that is most easily started as thus, "Don't invite a geek to your party. Ever!"

This is a huge mistake. Now don't misunderstand me here, my people are fun and exciting in our own way. When we all get together in groups it's great. I can talk for an hour about my Cisco topology with other network geeks, or play Apple fan boy bash with the best of them. Around other geeks, who know the joys of the D&D 3.5 rule set, or why Super Mutants have taken over the DC wastelands I totally fit it. All I'm saying is, generally we don't mingle well outside our own social structures. Keep the tigers with the tigers and the geeks with the geeks.

When taken outside of the familiar and placed into a world of the unknown, where sports take center stage over technology, we tend to feel a bit lost. Yesterday I stood in awe as three grown men reminisced about a certain baseball pitcher and a game where no one even got a hit. Can you image nine innings of that?! These blokes seemed downright enthralled, and talked about the man as fondly as their own kin.

Most geeks are introverts, and in this situation would just stand there, looking lost. Not me, I'm always lost, but that doesn't stop me from joining in. As the majority of my friends are sports guys, over the years I've picked up some sportish lingo that really helps. I still have no clue what anyone is talking about, but I do try. Though I have been known to bomb, usually in an epic way. I'm reminded of a recent flop.

“Hey did you watch Nascar last night?” The well adjusted clerk asks.
“Naw... who was playing?” I respond. My wife lets out a groan and I realize this isn’t correct.
“I mean... Are you a gear head?” I try and bluff him.
“Never mind... you want paper or plastic?”

At parties I’m a geek in hiding. That is no small feat. It’s like try to hide an elephant up your sleeve. Mostly my friends are not geeks, so over the years I've tried to fit in. Here's my short primer for any geeks who may find themselves in similar party predicaments.

For the geeks, here are a few party pointers I’ve picked up.
  • Don't Panic!

  • During introductions, use your real name, not your web handle.

  • Noboy gets our humor. Save xkcd for a more receptive group.

  • Don't pull out the flat panel to check if it's cabled properly. Wait till you're asked.

  • Don’t talk to your smartphone

  • When peoples eyes start to glass over, it time to move on to the next victim...err..guest

Regardless of how well you hide your true nature someone will ask if, "everything is okay?"

  • Always have some excuse for your behavior
    1. I didn't get any sleep
    2. I need more Mt. Dew
    3. I forgot to save my level 50 barbarian last night before the computer crashed.

  • When someone says:
    “So what have you been up to?”

    Talk about movies, horses or taxicabs.Talk about hammers, canoes or coffee. Just don’t explain how you hooked up your new PCI Express video card last night and ran a polygon test, this never gets the awe and reverence you would expect.

  • “What did you think of the game?”

    This means you have once again missed out on a sporting event. I find the best choice is to let them do the talking. Try something like "Can you believe that score?" or "What were they thinking?" I find these questions work great for 90% of sporting events. You can fain thirst and head back to the punch bowl during the response.

  • Just remember have fun, and try not to be yourself.

Letter To My Father

Dear Pop;

Today is December 22, 2008, you have been gone a while. Five years if I recall. Has it really been that long? I'm not sure what prompted me to write this, but I've been missing you recently. It's not Fathers Day, or your birthday, but I still wish I could talk to you. I miss having you here.

There are so many times growing up that I wished I was anywhere except living under your roof. I wanted so bad, to grow up and get out of your realm. I dreamed about the day I could leave home and not have to carry my nasty handkerchief you insisted I brought with me wherever I went. I hated our math lessons, or that red maker you would use on my essays that I was so proud of. All those red marks that made me realize that I didn't have your brains, and would just never get it.

I also used to fear our times alone when I never knew what to talk about. I worried that I might say or do something that would make me feel stupid, or make you wonder how it was possible to have a son that was so little like you.

There were only a few times growing up when I realized that you were not the pillar of strength and insight that I had come to see you as through my young eyes. When you reminisced about your childhood and hardships you endured. I don't ever recall a time growing up when you cried. I knew you to be quite capable of strong emotion, but crying never seemed like something you would ever do. I'm sure it happened, but it doesn't fit with the template I made of you.

All the time though, I was listening. Mostly I listened and daydreamed, trying to picture you as a child with a house full of family and relations. I listened as you talked about your trip to Europe, with the duck hunting coat where you secreted away your poor boys. I listened as you talked about your time as a deputy sheriff. I listened as you talked about your trips around town in the car that you loved. I still cannot picture you in a bug eyed sprite, or as a young man in the Philippines but I accept that it was so.

If I had known at that time that you would be gone today and I would feel such a great loss for your company, I would have been dumbfounded. We never really understood each other, even being of the same blood. I sometimes wonder how that is possible. I can't explain it, it just is. I remember the way you would devour a book in an afternoon, while I played at the park, avoiding the 'Trolls' as you called them. I recall riding on your back in the pool and the joy of making you proud as I could hold my breath and swim the pools length underwater. I have lots of memories. Some that I relish, and some that I've let fade away. I've tried to let go of all the venom as I raise two children of my own.

That's right, you have two grandkids. They are both a mixture of myself and my bride, and as you are in me; part of their makeup is from you. Hannah has your insight. Alexis your will. Two granddaughters whom you will never meet. For whatever reason that struck me today.

I miss you Pop. I will forget, even recently, that you are gone. Mostly when I've seen a great movie, or wished for your political insight, or when I recently found myself writing a letter to the editor. A place where I would frequently see your well organized thoughts cutting through the emotion clutter with wisdom and truth. Oh to have just one more conversation about life, your crazy chickens or even a game of darts.

Many things have changed, but I'm still that little boy with his head in the clouds wanting desperately for his fathers approval. I know you were proud of me and what I had made of my life. Five years seems like an eternity. I wish you had made it a bit longer.

I love you, and I miss you,

-Pete

Diary Of An Amateur Woodworker

March 2008

Dear Diary,
Today my wife asked me to build her something. A toy shelf out of wood. I haven't done anything like that since I was a kid, and back then it was impolite to say, "Wow? Did you make that? Kid...that looks like garbage." I'm not even sure where to start. I have a workbench, but I hadn't actually thought of using it for anything. I hope my tools don't get freaked out by actually having to cut things. "Work? What's up with that? I though we were just for show!"

Dear Diary,
The toy shelf turned out okay. The children don't know what it's for and keep sleeping on the shelf like a set of junior bunk beds. What if it falls apart? That would be embarrassing trip to the hospital. "So, Mr. Brown...not only did you maim your daughters with your poor woodworking skills, but as I can see from this chunk of wood protruding from your eldest child's arm...you also need to work on more uniform staining application."

April 2008

Dear Diary,
Why is it that '10 simple steps' in a magazine come out to '25 impossible fitting joints' in the garage? Nothing is as simple as the cartoon drawings show stuff. I think they specifically leave out steps that are important just to get a laugh. "Hank, did you see my piece called "A fun afternoon project? I can picture grown men weeping into piles of sawdust. For my next article I'm thinking of writing, 'Antique Furniture in Thee Simple Steps.'"

May 2008

Dear Diary,
I'm hooked. I've found myself in the garage more than at my computer. I wonder if it's feeling lonely? I honestly don't care. My only regret is splinters. There are days when I feel that there are more trips inside the house to remove a errant piece of wood from my finger than actually building something. I've become a human pincushion for birch, oak and walnut. Certainly nothing I ever had to deal with in computing. Blisters and pockmarked fingers make it hard to type. Maybe I'll go back into the garage....

August 2008

Dear Diary,
Splinters are now the least of my worries. Today I am the proud owner of a table saw. So far I'm so scared of it I have trouble using it. I envision gruesome dismemberment every time I power it on. Fortunately now people are also willing to share their horribly graphic accidents with me. People, stop it! That's not helping. I spend most of the conversation in my 'happy place' fighting the urge to hurl all over them. I've resolved to try out some hand tools.

September 2008

Dear Diary,
I'm never going to get it. I can't cut a straight line with scissors and a hand saw is even harder. So far I've cut and hurt myself more with my chisels and flush cut saw, then any power tool I own. There's a reason our ancestors evolved and harnessed electricity. The simple answer is that, 'Hand tools suck' and all the rants about 'craftsmanship' and 'patience' now will only fall on deaf ears. Here comes "SEVEN FINGERS BROWN" mangled but productive!

December 2008

Dear Diary,
I live eat and dream woodworking. I'm constantly covered in sawdust and machine oil fighting the cold for another hour in the shop. I have a ton to learn and I'm still looking for another soul I can hook on this hobby, but I think it has transcended 'fad' and become a full blown addiction. We will see if this goes to wayside that some of my other addictions have gone. As for right now, I hope not. There is something so gratifying about destroying innocent wood for fun.

Climbing into Coffee Cups

Somedays are just plain cold. There is nothing you can do to get warm. Today is one of those days. It is bitter cold here. Someone needs to call Al Gore and find out why the warming has stopped. I don't care if the polar bears are suffering, I want my global warming!

Days like this I feel like doing this:



Do you think the folks in my office will mind?

Understanding Hannah

My youngest daughter is a absolute nutcase. Her brain is a hodgepodge of crisscrossed wires that make her sister, who has Down Syndrome, seem completely rational by comparison.

For instance when Alexis wants something, it makes sense. She loves the television, waffles and her stuffed lion. In that order. If she is unhappy we can almost bet that one of the aforementioned items will make her happy. She gives awesome hugs, laughs hysterically when I tickle her and a game of peek-a-poo or silly faces can cheer her up in a hurry. Overall Alexis makes sense. She's not easy, but at least she is understandable.

Hannah is completely unpredictable. Hannah, who on any given day will wake up screaming something completely unbelievable. Here is a sampling from the short list. "I'm a girl! Hannah's a girl!","Mommy hurry! Hurry mommy I broke my leg!" Or my personal favorite. "I want a Happy Thanksgiving!"

This one took a bit of explaining. After a good 4 minutes of Daddy, who on any given day will be called, Mommy, Dad or Bo (please don't ask), trying to explain what Thanksgiving is and why I won't give it to my daughter.

"Please Dad, Hannah needs a Happy Thanksgiving."
"Hannah, I can't give it to you...uhmm, Here."
I extend an empty hand
"This is a Happy Thanksgiving. It's just a day. Not something I can give you."

After a bit of this, she walks away. I'm sure she already sees me as a senile old man, who obviously doesn't get it. Then for no apparent reason she'll run back in the room proclaiming that her friend the mirror is now named "Er Hannah". No we have no idea why.

I'm not saying that I'm not partially responsible for her condition. Hannah and I play strange games. Games like, "Steal the hat from the talking camel with the Indian accent" and other traditional Brown favorites like, "Put the flashlight in your mouth and groan", "Sing and tickle", "Jump on the couch pillow, then steal second base", "Spin till you hurl" or one of my personal favorites, "Clumsy Frankenstein Monster falling down in the hallway".

So is it's no wonder that the kid is bizarre. I mean who wouldn't be with this sort of a training regiment? I guess the point of this post is that I think she has one of the most interesting imaginations ever. I love coming home at night and having Patricia catch me up on all the quirky Hannah news.

"She ate her imaginary friends today."

"Okay, well....that's a little weird."

"Oh and Grandma had to help her get her face back on, after it slipped off onto the sidewalk."

"Hmm. So, just another typical day here?"

"Absolutely."

Paid To Wait

I find myself in a very strange place tonight... waiting. Waiting for about 4 hours, and while I sit here waiting, the government is paying me. That's right, your local property taxes are hard at work tonight. I'm here, sitting on my duff, getting paid. In fact in about 30 minutes I'll be on overtime!

For all you out there thinking about an exciting job in the Information Technology field take note of me. I have been at this for almost 15 years, I'm near the top of my game. The lead network engineer at my place of employment. And here I sit, in an abandoned building waiting. Tonight I plan on being here waiting for 3 hours or more. It won't be till sometime after that when I actually am called upon to use my skills.

How did this happen? Simple. I caused it. At precisely 2:06 this afternoon a co-worker and I were talking about, "Maybe getting out early." After that huge breech in fate-tempting protocol, I took it even further. I said, "What would we do with all that free time anyway?" So there it is. It's clearly my fault. When the fates are tempted they rarely skip those opportunities to show you, "Exactly what to do with all that free time." So here I am, a victim of my own carelessness.

It seems the fates convinced a server to take vacation a little early.

"Call it a 'Holiday Bonus' for a hardworking domain controller."

"Honest?"

"Really. Seize up, blow up, whatever you want."

Whatever golden tale was spun, the server bought it, then kicked the bucket and called it quits. It bought the farm, threw in the towel or whatever you like. It did it...and did it real good! We tried to coax it out of that mood, but to no avail. So we brought in the big guns and called hardware support. A support tech is en route, from San Jose as we speak. I don't think I will tell him this is all my fault. People who drive 3 hours in the rain the night before a holiday tend to have a limited sense of humor. Go figure.

In this technicians magic bag of tricks, is a setup Dorothy's friend the Scarecrow would be salivating for. A new brain with all the bells and whistles. I'm also hoping for a very heaving hammer.

Once the tech gets here the real fun begins, but until then, I wait. So here I sit. Getting paid good money to watch the door, and try and keep busy. So far, this is all I've come up with.

Sacraficing to Oops

There seems to be no shortages of people places or objects to bestow your esteem, regard, respect, approval or reverence. So how is it that I ended up here? Recently I find myself making sacrifices to a god that I didn't even know existed until a few moths back. This god is now the ruling force in my workshop, second to none with the power to change the outcome of even the smallest of event. That's right, the god of Oops.

Somehow I have unknowingly allowed myself to be ensnared in the firm grip of this relativity low profile god. What many folks would dismiss as coincidence, I see as evidence to the etheranl hand of Oops. Oops is a very demanding god

Oops demands regular sacrifices of nearly all of my projects. Sometimes, he only wants a small thing, like a striped screw head, or stray paint drip on an otherwise clean job. Other times my reverence is tested with something of a slightly larger scale. As I noted in an earlier post, Oops was apparently drowning in wistful melancholy, just as I had almost completed a project. As such his demands were much more stringent. I had the largest Oops offering to date, as I dismantled every last joint of a project to lift his spirits and cement my everlasting commitment to this terribly vengeful god.

So goes my current religious experience. I decided after that last project, that I would limiting my devotion and be giving less to this rather impish deity. I had a job that was to be a set of lattice framed doors to cover the top of my mothers koi pond. The hope was to offer some relief to an issue she has been experiencing with some rather pesky fishermen. The raccoons had discovered a nice source of fresh fish and I was charged with fixing it so they couldn't readily get at their after midnight snack.

As I put the last finishing touches on the doors I realized I hadn't made any amends to Oops. In fact I was quite proud of the fact, and mentioned it in passing to my wife as she looked over my handy work. I walked back into the shop about an hour later to sweep up sawdust and move the items, when I noticed a chip of wood missing from a joint.

Apparently Oops got wind of my statement and wasn't interested in loosing another follower. I searched all over the shop for the sliver of wood that was missing. It had apparently vanished, as if snatched up by Oops in a display of power. A sort of forced sacrifice to affirm who in fact was in charge of my so called free will.

I spent an hour or so repairing the corner. It seems I'm still an unwilling servant. Hopefully in the future I can find a way to rid myself of this god. Until then, I will continue in my sacrifices and increase my supply of wood glue and sandpaper.

The Cult

I sit down, and shed all reason and logic, as I open my pamphlet entitled:

"So you've decided to do away with all that filthy productivity and join the cult."

It's not a good sign but I decide to keep reading. I flip open the hand folded tract and see what more information it has to impart to my longing soul.

"You don't have to live the repressed life of your narrow minded generation. Open your mind and breath easy. You have begun your first step towards a life without the domineering overlord of 3 phase wiring or mindless repacking of your wearing motor bearings. Can you imagine a world without concerns of blade drift or constant mechanical tuning? If yes, then I bid you welcome to the cult. Please remove your jeans and t-shirt and pick up a linen smock and a tasteful pair of dark breeches."

It turns out, that my new hobby has some rather bizarre fringe members. Like any other family, the woodworking clan has a number of relatives that most people just never talk about. The hand tool nuts. Electricity? Oh yes they've seen it. It doesn't matter. They shun it. Many of them started innocently enough. Purchasing a hand plane here, a set of chisels there and soon a rip saw, crosscut saw and before you know it, WHAM. They're a full blown cult member with knickers and a period ponytail, sneering at those of us with table saws and electric sanders.

"You know... you could do that be hand?"

"Make molding? By hand?"

"Yea. You would only need a spokeshave, and simple scratch stock, and couple of hand planes. Should only take 20 minutes per 3' foot board."

"My router can do that in like...oh I don't know...4 seconds."

"But it won't be handcrafted."

"By handcrafted, do you mean tedious and aggravating?"

For every hand tool there is now a new modern equivalent that came into use with that ridiculous dark period of our history known as, The Industrial Revolution. I'm not saying I don't appreciate learning the techniques and skills of craftsman gone by, but contrariwise I have zero plans of freezing time at 1865 when my back saw could be interchanged for cutting drawer joints or amputating infected limbs. I like this era and I welcome the inviting hum of whirring motors and spinning drive belts. For me, the machines are half the fun.

To me, when looking at a set of hand cut dovetails side by side with machined cut dovetails they look identical. One took 30 minutes, and one took 3 minutes. Unless of course we are talking about my hand cut dovetails, which look more like ragged New York City pigeon tails after being run over by a an angry cab driver. So take your pick.

I suppose this could all just come down to jealously, or possibly the countless hours I've spent at my workbench trying to do anything that looks slightly passable as craftsmanship with my hand tools. Nah, that can't be it.

So I took my leaflet, crumpled it up and threw it away. Anyone want a loose fitting set of dark breeches?

What A Bargain

There is something appealing about free. Free. Something for nothing.

"You want it? It's yours."

"What's the cost?"

"No cost. Nothing. It's free. Just take it."

I should have known better. There is nothing quite as expensive as free.

Two weekends ago I got a deal. A real honest to goodness bargain. As I was browsing through Craigslist looking for inexpensive power tools to feed my new addiction, I found this post:

"Free Vintage Sears Lathe"

Needless to say I mashed out a frantic email to aforementioned giver of free tools letting them know how much I wanted it. "I will come and pick it up TODAY. no questions asked." Within three minutes of the ad appearing online, I had a phone call from the owner letting me know where to pick it up.

For those not in "the know" a lathe has one purpose. To take a block of material, wood in this case, and spin it at near dangerous speeds. My lathe spins at four speeds ranging from approx 600 to 1800 RPMs. This is changed depending on how badly you would like to maim yourself with a flying chunk of hardwood. Once you have the death machine up to full speed you attack this innocent timber with sharp objects in a effort to mold the log to your liking.

So I haul this thing home, set it up and spend about 2 hours cleaning off rust, scraping off buildup and sharpening its spurs. At this point I'm ready to 'turn' wood. Right? Wrong.

First off I had a broken drive belt, but that was a measly $20 to replace. No big deal, twenty buck to get my free tool working! Now I can turn wood.

Not so fast there junior.

Second I needed to buy some chisels, gouges, skews, and other lathe cutting tools. Otherwise I'm just trying to cut the wood with my wit, which much to my chagrin, is not that sharp. So now that I've bought $50 worth of lathe chisels, I'm ready to cut. Right? Nope. I need a face shield. This apparatus, that is both the height of fashion and safety will protect me from flying debris. There goes another $20. Now I'm ready to cut? Not likely!

Turns out to really begin turning, I need a lot. I need a sharpening wheel to grind my new chisels, because although you paid $50 bucks for them they do not come sharpened. There goes another $100 big ones. Now? Not yet. It seems your older lathe centers, the part that holds the wood in place, are too worn down and need replacing. $15.

"Okay, now what exactly do you want to turn?"

"Pens?"

"Well then, you will need a 7mm mandrel, a set of bushings, a 7mm drill bit and barrel trimmer. $60. Oh by the way...."

"sigh..."

"Do you have a drill press?"

"How much?"

"At least $100. For the cheap one."

"What If I wanted to turn bowls?"

"Yes. You could do that."

"Great!"

"You need a bowl gouge, new chuck and a set if calipers and maybe a spindle adapter..."

Anyway. I got this great deal on a new lathe. It was free. You know, free? What a bargain!

Lazy Thursday Blues: The Movie Return

It has been a long time since I've done one of these... And in the interest of getting them started up again, this one will be in play for a number of days .Since it's been such a long time, this game should feel a bit new again!

I'll start the game with a quote from a movie. Whoever knows it can respond, with the movie it's from, additionally they will add a new movie quote to keep the game rolling. This continues till we all get stumped or bored.

Only two little rules
1.) No R or greater movies
2.) No cussing

"Daddy, I do not want a boat like this!"

Gone Phishing


My name is Dr William Monroe, a staff of a well-known bank, here in London, England. One of our accounts, with holding balance of £15,000,000 has been dormant and last operated three years ago. From my investigations and confirmation, the owner of the said account, a foreigner by name John Shumejda died on the 4th of January 2002 in a plane crash in Birmingham...

In Internet speak phishing is the luring of unsuspecting users in your scams. Whether that scam is buying a product that doesn't work or convincing them that you're a rich refugee from Nigeria. Whatever the ends are, the beginning parts of the scam is commonly done through phishing. Nigerian e-mail phishing aside, one of the best ways for companies to sell their garbage products on the Internet is raise their Google ranking.

The more people that link to a website, the more popular the website is, the higher ranked it will be by Google. Thus, the more likely it will be seen on the first page of searches for whatever product they sell. In the world of Internet marketing, search engine hits are the reigning lord. As such many companies are paying for links from blogs and websites. Websites with decent Google rankings. I was the proud owner of two sites that, until very recently, met those requirements.

And so for the past 16 months I've been a dirty nasty phishing blogger. The soiled companies paid me well to do it. I did it with a smile on my face and growing black spot on my filthy soul. In fact for the 232 posts that I typed up, while prostituting links from my websites, I was paid over $1800. It's not that its wrong, so much as it's despised. See, I'm still trying to to justify my habits! Okay... In general, it really is a low practice. I don't know anything about company xyz, and yet here I am, peddling their product and linking to a black hole website. All for a few bucks.

A few bucks that I took a vacation with, bought a new router, dovetail jig and table saw with, paid some bills with and still had some left over for investing with. Hum....I seem to be teeter-tottering here. Okay, I'm not going to pretend I didn't like having the extra cash. It's been really fun to know that I could spend money without guilt. I wanted it, I save for a couple weeks and bought it. It's hard not to like that! In the end though, it was tainted.

So called Internet morality aside... I've stopped. I've stopped for two reasons. One, well in all honesty, the market for my services dropped through the floor, at the same time both of my websites lost their high Google score. I was a little disappointed at first, but now I feel like it's a good thing. Because we then get to point number two. I really wasn't very proud of it. That of course was squashed out by my desire for 'free funds'. What can I say, I like spending money. It's always been a hobby of mine.

So I might not be able to buy that lunchbox planer next month, but at least I can rest in the knowledge that I am no longer sending poor unsuspecting grandmothers to their doom while searching for 'cheap mortgages' or 'quality online furniture". Anyone know what the next big Internet fad will be?

One good thing to come of this, is now I have two pretty cool websites recently cleaned of all my old paid postings. FusionRing my gadget site, and Legal Addictive Stimulants my caffeine blog.

Starting Over

There are few things as defeating as starting over. When you believe that you have completed a project, paper, blog or task to realized that something is not satisfactory. You sit there putting the finishing touches on it when it hits you like a ton of bricks. You begin to rationalize. It's not that bad, I can fix it. No matter how hard you try, you know the truth of it cannot be escaped. Life is about to teach you a valuable lesson that you will shell out for in heaps of wasted time. Buckle up.

So you just finished the most amazing wrapping job on Earth. Perfectly folded corners and the most delightful bow you've ever tied. I mean, honestly, when does curling ribbon ever curl that well? Only when curling ribbon knows what you don't. It knows that you've been a total stooge and left the "HALF-OFF CLEARANCE" sticker smack dab in the center of Aunt Betsy's gift.

I recently found myself at the end of a woodworking project. It wasn't anything horribly involved, but in my mind it was nearly complete. It took me about 10 hours or so to get to this point, and this point wasn't pretty. No sir. My design, with two floating shelves, looked great on paper, but as paper doesn't have to worry about real world physics, it can't be blamed for failing to support itself in real life. Turns out I should have known better. Well, I do now...

As I stood there staring at it, I knew I what I was going to have to do. I didn't want to. I was getting down on all fours looking at it from weird angles. "Well that looks fairly good." I wanted to bust out the duct tape and bailing wire. Have you ever been there? Pretending you can fix a broken levy with a bucket of paint? You begin reasoning with yourself.

"Well, when you kinda close one eye, and tilt your head to the left...it's really not that bad."

"Are we talking about the same cabinet? I'm looking at the one that's shaped like a 'V'. Where's the one your blathering on about?"

"Is it really that far off?"

"You could check it for square, if you'd like a good laugh...."

"-sigh-. I'm going to have to start over from scratch."

"No doubt! You might want to even burn your old plans, just to be on the safe side. Better brew another pot of coffee."

I knew I was going to have to start over and re-design it from the bottom up. So I just bit the bullet and dismantled the entire thing. In the end, I'm glad I did, it turned out much better, and much more stable. I'm nearly done again. And this time, it looks like it's suppose to. Sometimes starting over, is just a simple fact of life. That being said, if I find some major flaw that I've overlooked... you can bet I'll be reaching for my can of paint!

Rebirth

"Frank! There you are."

"Hey..."

"You were suppose to meet me at the office, remember? The client?"

"Client?"

"Yea, you remember, the deep fried peanut butter people."

"That sounds repugnant. We're not working for them are we?!"

"What do you care? You missed the meeting..."

"Sorry."

"...and the free samples."

"Maybe I'm not so sorry after all."

"Whatever. Look, what have you been doing that is so important, that I had to eat deep fried peanut butter all by myself?"

"I'm evolving."

"I see, isn't that fine."

"Yes, well.."

"How nice."

"Yes..."

"Good for you."

"Thank you."

"Frank?"

"Yes?"

"I'M GOING TO STRANGLE YOU!"

"What!?"

"I have been belching up greasy peanut butter for the last 20 minutes by myself because you have been sitting at a coffee shop...uh...EVOLVING!? Are you completely out of your mind!?"

"No. I'm actually highly advanced. Which is why I'm evolving you're not."

"Frank. Evolution doesn't take place in an afternoon, over a mocha latte! It takes tens of thousands of years."

"It only takes one mutation to get the whole thing rolling though."

"Well, in theory, yeah I suppose... wait. Why am I even having this conversation with you. This is idiotic. Frank. You are not evolving, your having a mental breakdown. It's much easier to explain, and there are already plenty of medications for it."

"No, listen. Darwin predicted a slow path for evolution, the gradual slant with lots of in-between species, or links. But most scientists have long since abandoned Darwinian evolution and instead believe in a theory based on positive mutations. You know, the first human with a larger cranial cavity or more agile fingers..."

"And all the other Neanderthals were so jealous, that they decided to go down to Beverley Hills and have their skulls hollowed out, just to be hip?"

"Look, I'm not going to try and explain it to you. That's the way it works okay?"

"One ape just gets fed up with not being able to use a comb properly, so he just says, 'enough is enough!" and has a kid with an opposable thumb? Is that about the just of it?"

"What's wrong with you?"

"Nothing a good stomach pumping wouldn't solve."

"Anyway, regardless of your sour mood..."

"And sour stomach..."

"Look! You are looking at the next phase in human evolution! I'm that mutant. Can you please stop acting all petty and stupid."

"Fine. Frank Groves, isn't a starving advertising salesmen, he's the next stage in human evolution. Not only, overweight and short, with male pattern baldness, but just happens to be 'What's next' for the whole species."

"Look man, I was pretty surprised myself."

"Okay fine. Prove it"

"Okay."

**CRACK!**

"You...You..."

"Just grew a third arm."

"three..."

"I know. I told you. I'm evolving."

"Frank... I'm, uh... feeling a bit light headed. I think I should sit..."

**CRASH!**

"Three arms and I couldn't even catch him. Oh well, it's a lot to get used to in one afternoon. I mean who would have ever thought you could just go out and get deep fried peanut butter! What will they think of next... I'm going to need some new shirts."

We're Back

The Internet has returned to the Brown house after a staggering six year drought. After literally years of us telling anyone who would listen, "We don't miss it", "It's no big deal", "We're happy without it", somehow, it's back. In 2002 I was laid off from a wireless ISP. At that time I had enjoyed working for ISP's for about 4 years or so. One major perk of working for the Internet provider was free access. I would guess it's like working at the M&M factory and getting to take home rejects!

As of 2002, I hadn't payed for Internet access since I bought my dial-up connection in 1996. In fact in I had a free 3Mb wireless link on my roof. At that time, this was unreal bandwidth. We had an office with 3 PC and both Patricia and I had laptops and a wireless LAN. What this meant was that ANYWHERE in our 2 story house Internet was accessible. Kitchen, living room, restroom, whatever. We were dripping in world wide webs.

When I was laid off, I was told I could keep the connection till the company asked for it back. Like a cheap severance package. I was so mad I darted up to the roof and ripped it off it's fancy chimney mount, and hauled it back to my old office, and we had been without broadband ever since.

We were genuinely happy without access for a long time. I would say it wasn't till I started blogging that I started saying, "Well this is a bit inconvenient." Either typing posts up at home and hauling them to work on a flash drive, or writing posts on company time.

As our friends blogging, Facebook and other social networking habits exploded out of control, my wife felt a bit out of the loop. She was starting to feel like some kind of a freak for her lack of access.

"Do you have a blog?"

"No"

"Do you Twitter?"

"No"

"MySpace?"

"No"

"Facebook?"

"No"

"Wow. Really? Well... what's your email address?"

"I don't have one."

"Excuse me?! Are you a real person!?"

Between Patricia and I, she is definitely more excited to be back online than I am. Though I must say, I'm very glad to be able to check my email, update my video games and blog from home. Of course now we have to worry about viruses and spyware for the first time in years.

All in all, now that we are both hooked back up to the Matrix, we have to ask ourselves, "How did we go that long without it?" Between, Netflix instant play videos, online gaming, eBay and social networking, we've got a bit of catching up to do. Yeah, we're back.

From The Editors Desk: Return of Fridays

Gentle Reader;

For those of you who read this posts title and were surprised to find out that Fridays had been missing, let me explain.

Fridays have yet to be removed from the calendar, but my old Friday posts or conversation Fridays, have been gone since April of 2007, save one post called "Tug of War" which was just an accidental conversation post.

I'm thinking I would like to try another stab at these. First because I was reading some of them, and they are extremely silly. I like silly. And second because I feel as though I might have some fresh ideas.

Any of you wishing to avoid any further silliness, might want to steer clear of Fridays. Additionally I cannot promise that there will be no further post about eating dogs or other unusual topics. Whatever pops in, will be typed. You have been warned.

Thank you for your continued patronage.

Kludge
Editor and Chief

Selling It All

eBay is awesome. Let's just start off by saying that. I love eBay. Like many good things that I've discovered, only after everyone else on the planet is bored with them, I wonder how I've gotten on this long without them. I would add things like, Netflix, woodworking, talk radio, and buttered popcorn jelly beans.

eBay apparently was named as a satirical nod to the Ebola virus, of all things. Apparently the programmer wanted it to spread in a similar manner. Well, it did. The first item sold is rumored to have been a broken laser pointer. It was snatched up for almost 15 bucks by someone who, "collected broken laser pointers." This first sale aptly set the precedent for the entire site. A great place to unload your junk on some nutter that you neither understand nor care to. As long as the payment comes through, you can consider them a ,"Good customer, who I would be happy to do business with again! A+ buyer!"

I have found that I can sell almost anything that I can put in a shipping box. Someone, somewhere wants it. No matter how small, worthless or inconsequential, someone will buy it. Those 'someones' all live on eBay. Due to this fact, I've totally lost my grip on reality. I'm a selling fool. What started as a method for me to sell off parts from a tool that I bought has grown into a full fledged sickness. I like money. There, I said it. I like getting rid of things I don't want and getting money in return.

MONEY, MONEY, MONEY, MONEY!

It's like a new drug! I'm selling anything that's not nailed down. We were cleaning out the office a few weeks back. I sold, a board game, a set of salt and pepper shakers an old Game Gear I've had since junior high and bizarre piece of aluminum. I've sold both of our old Nintendo game systems, and I'm scouring the garage for more stuff that I can shove into a 5"x11"X2" flat rate box, and label in eBay as, "A great bargain."

It doesn't matter if it's needed, special or essential to my daily operation. If I think I can sell it and no one can physically stop me, it goes on eBay. I'm one small step shy of rummaging through the neighbors trash can, for great 'finds'. So there you have it. As with just about anything that I try, I've dived in head first and completely buried in obsession. Why is it that I can never address anything from a firm moderate stance? Who knows. "How Much Do YOu THINK I CAn GeT For My SpARe VIDeO Card CoLLECTION?!"

Puking Pastimes

When most people think of sickness, they think about colds. You know the typical runny nose, feet in hot water and wrapped up in a blanket. This is the first picture, at least in my minds eye, when I hear, "I'm feeling sick."

What you generally don't picture is yourself huddled in a heap on the restroom floor, vomiting your kidneys out your mouth. In general kidneys should not be seen, much less hurled out of your body at mach 2 where they then adhere to the bathroom walls. It is after something like this happens that you begin to say to yourself, "I think I might be sick." Right before you pass out with your head resting comfortably on the toilet.

Now I believe that I'm standing with the majority of the male sex, when I say, "I hardly ever get sick." I believe that many men believe this. It offends us to pretend that we fall victim to illness as easy as the 'weaker sex' does. At the very least we want to believe that it takes us less time to convalesce than our female counterparts.

I mean to say, what is the point of being male if it doesn't come with some advantages? So when I found that I indeed had the same illness I that I had witnessed my wife and two daughters endure the night before, I wept. I did so silently, so as no one would hear me.

It was a long night last night, that didn't really end until about 3:30 this morning. I'm feeling better. How could I not be. Currently I'm sitting at my desk, typing, instead of peering into the shiny reflection of my distorted features at the bottom of a porcelain bowl. I would be hard pressed not to be feeling better. Sure I'm a little queasy still, and I'm sure I be avoiding any food that isn't labeled "nasty salty watered down soup", but at least the worst is over. And in a few days time I can once again pick up my manly mantle and proclaim to the world, who is none the wiser.

"Me? I never get sick."

Vacations

I just came back from a very nice vacation. We had a lovely time, after I stopped trying to control the spinning of the Earth on it's axis and learned to relax. Not completely relax mind you, just enough to have "a good time". This was a major milestone for me. I'm a necrotic obsessive control freak, and that's putting in nicely.

We did have some rough times, like the lowest point of my parenting career so far, having to administer a spanking in the middle of the 'Happiest Place On Earth'.

My youngest daughter pitched a fit in Toon Town while finding navigating from point A (Goofy's front yard) to point B (Goofy's living room) a challenge. Since I knew the way, past Roger Rabbits wrecked cab, I attempted to show her. She screamed and ran off at full speed into the 50,000+ crowd. After a spirited chase, a well placed "whap!" and the horrified looks from permissive parents in all directions, I got a, "I'm sorry Daddy" and a new understanding of the joys of over stimulation.

Sea World, San Diego Wild Animal Park and Universal Studios, might have been too much to try and bite off all at once. I think this was evident when Patricia and I had a "Sea World Divorce" for about 2 hours. I got Alexis, and Patricia got Hannah. Luckily we made amends, somewhere near the Sea Lion arena.

Vacations can sometimes get rough. For the most part the end of the vacation was better than the beginning. We had a real blast at Disneyland and California Adventure park. Everyone had fun, and there were lots of us. Myself, Patricia, Hannah, Alexis, Antie Chrissy, Uncle Gosh, Anut Kath-a-leen, Eric, Grammy, Grandma and Grandpa. What a troupe! I have spent more time of the tea cups, Winne the Pooh (I still have the Heffalumps and Woozles song stuck in my head), and Pinocchio than I ever thought possible.

Funny story about Pinocchio. After 20 minutes in line with a perfectly behaved 2 1/2 year old, she finally realized that we had been waiting for a ride, and not naming the color of everyone's shirt that was in line. She freaked out. We could not get her on the ride and Patricia took her out of line, right at the boarding. This meant than I rode the Pinocchio ride with my sister-in-law and her husband. 3 grown ups, no child, riding Pinocchio. The Pinocchio ride is not worth a 20 minute wait.

There are lots of stories to tell, but I think that's enough for now. I leave with this last little gem. Hannah, with Auntie Chrissy, Uncle Gosh, and all three Grandparents watched the Golden Horseshoe Review, while we took Alexis on rides. At the end of the review, she apparently was dissatisfied, as she proclaimed, "I want my money back". I'm not sure what spawned this, but I'm glad I missed it!

Confessions Of A Thread Killer

There's something wrong with me. Stop nodding your head. You have no clue what I'm about to say!

Ahem this is just a short post for a quick confession. I'm an e-mail thread killer. I frequently take e-mails to the place where they die. I have seen the graveyard, and mostly the last responder is yours truly. What can I say, "I am cold blooded killer."

People read my e-mail responses, close their programs, shut off their machines and then burn their houses to the ground. This isn't news to many of you who have been standing there at the pile of burning soot that was your house saying, "How was I suppose to respond to that?"

As an example I will give you my most recent victim. This was an email for an invitation to the pumpkin patch. Those of you who already have seen this, I apologize for the repeat.


Subject: Re: Pumpkin Patch Clarification

I'm a firm believer in the pumpkin patch. I've been using it now for almost 3 months and I have see a dramatic decrease in pumpkin related cravings.

It's saved me thousands on seeds and the orange pant suits I'd been stocking up on! Sure I'll still linger too long in the produce section at the supermarket, or occasionally wonder if, just one pumpkin would hurt... but I've never followed through!

Whenever, where ever. I'm pro pumpkin patch!

-Peter Peter "No More" Pumpkin Eater!


I just wanted to say, "I know. I feel your pain." Well.. Not really. It would be more appropriate to say, "I am your pain". In all honesty, I know that many people do get the joke, and do enjoy it, but are still baffled at a response. For those folks let me say. I'm not going to be stopping anytime soon, and I wouldn't know what to say either!

Kudos to Kim, the lone responder!

Faking It

"Sooner or later, someone is bound to get wise to it.... right?"

Drill Sarah, Drill!

I love politics. I find the process exciting, and the cycle interesting. I enjoy listening to the commentaries, following the latest stories, learning about the issues and watching the whole gamut of political choices, from bowing to biting. For people who are not as interested in keeping up with politics, it's a lot like the annual weather pattern.

"Has it EVER been this hot before?!"
"Do you remember rain in September?"
"I doubt there has ever been a day this cold!"

The answer is, "yes", "yes" and "No. The Mastodons froze from lack of good summer movies to see."

There is nothing new under the sun, weather wise or in the great political arena. In fact it's cooled off quite a bit. Considering Ando's recent post concerning the famed Alexander Hamilton-Aaron Burr duel, where two prominent politicians solved their disagreements by shooting at each other. We rarely behave in this manner anymore, and it's too bad, because this would be a quick way to reduce the number of politicians we have to listen to.

The truth is, the population as a whole has very short memories. Very few people could tell you the stance of Ronald Regan on the 1986 amnesty bill, What OPEC did to create an oil crisis in the 70's or what Michael Dukakis was thinking when he got in that tank. Americans in general have lives. Politician know that. This means they can say whatever they want to suit them for a the moment. Most people aren't going to care or even know if a politicians viewpoints are consistent.

Which brings me to my next point. Are politicians are liars? You bet. Absolutely. 100%! Again most folks weigh political viewpoints with their emotions. Elian Gonzalez, 911 or Terri Schiavo. This means that when something upsets them they click on the news, and listen for a day or two about that one issue. The politicians will say what they think sounds the best, for this moment, and get that message to the casual viewer.

Those of us who tune in all the time, will hear their next stance, and the next one, and the one after that. It's not uncommon for these to all be totally different. I know and understand that. People don't get anywhere in politics being honest. It sucks, but it's the truth. Which means when it comes to President, the highest office in the nation, both of these men are completely flawed liars. Either way you go, "Country First" or "Change". For me, it comes down to issues.

Which is why I really like Sarah Palin. Not because I think she's an upstanding person. I'm sorry, I don't buy it. Pitbull or poodle, I'm with her on the issues, not solely her character. In fact Sarah is the only reason I'm thinking about voting Republican this year at all. I have very little respect for McCain. In my mind the best case scenario is this. McCain Palin takes the White House, an then on January 21st, McCain kicks the bucket. Hey, call me what you will, it's the truth. That's what I'm hoping for.

"Drill Sarah, Drill!"

Stealing From The Dead

It's true. I'm a thief, a scoundrel, a scallywag. My victims are totally helpless, and I swoop in a take what I need. They cannot stop me. I'm not in the least bit repentant about it. In fact I'm proud of it.

I say, "If your silly enough to pass on with nice stuff in your garage, it's your own fault when your wife and son sell it to me for next to nothing!" My soul is absolutely filthy. I need help.

I don't remember the exact date, but sometime in September I found myself souring thorough Craigslist when I found a posting for a '12" free standing band saw for $25'. It's not important what a 12" free standing band saw is, or what it does, just know this. That price was UNHEARD OF! So I did what I always do on Craigslist. I waited three days and then sent a email like, "Are you still trying to get rid of your old band saw?" This is a low tactic, but not too low for a jerk such as myself.

$25 for a 12" free standing band saw was hard to pass up. So I went down to see it. And so began my new life as a tomb raider.

After a quick look, I knew I had to have it. It looked horrible (see picture), all covered in rust and sawdust siting there dressed in a 1950's gold paint job. But in general, old tools last forever. This thing was made from cast iron and steel. New jobs are loaded with plastic, which just doesn't last. Under all that ugly, I saw a gem.

So I curled up my lip and said, "Does this old thing even run?" We plugged it in and she ran like a dream!

This gentleman was selling his fathers old tools for his mom. His father has purchased them in the mid 50's, and took good care of them, but passed away in '82 or so. They have just been sitting dormant in the garage for 25 years. His mom was moving so they needed to be sold. He was also selling a Shopsmith for $50 (another awesome bargain) and some other power tools way below market price. Was it my responsibility to tell him? Absolutely.

Instead I offered him less. I offered $65 for both units, and I'd "take them off his hands". He was so thankful he helped me load them into the truck. I'm a swine.

So after a bit of work, the band saw is working like a dream! All the rust is gone, her table has been leveled, parts oiled and bladed properly tensioned. She's cutting through wood like an absolute wonder. The Shopsmith was too big for my shop, so I'm selling it in pieces on Ebay. I've already recouped what I paid for it and I think I will more than triple what I spent.

So there it is. I'm scum, I steal from the dead, and gloat online. All in all, I couldn't be happier.

Faith In Action

Faith in what is unknown can be difficult. Why do we believe in what we believe in? Is it just a matter of faith? Many times that is all it takes. Faith....and a multimillion dollar advertising budget. Advertising, as you know, is a great catalyst of faith.

Glue. Ordinary, regular, everyday glue. This is a post about glue. Now that we are clear on that I feel I can continue.

I say that 'faith' is attaching a series of wooden boards together, with nothing more than yellow glue and expecting it to hold for a generation. Faith in action is selling said item for over a hundred bucks. Take for example your average wooden kitchen cutting board. Did you know that your fancy wooden kitchen cutting board is nothing more than wood and glue. That's it. Wood. Glue, and maybe some laxative for a finish. I'm not kidding you! This is the real scoop here! The most popular hundred-plus-dollar-wooden-cutting-board-finish is mineral oil. So wood, glue and a bottle of unstopper.

Now you're telling me you that this oily wooden glued up plank, that you cut up your chicken on every night is stable. Sure is! Dang strong. I'm sorry, I'm not a chemist, I don't understand it. For me it just is. I can't understand it I just believe. And that new found faith in glue was pretty hard to come by.

Lets face it, when you think of glue. you think 'oops'! Oops! I've gone and busted something. Something that was important, special or that you really had no business even touching in the first place. Panic sets in, as you look at this thing that is now in more pieces than it was ever designed to be. What do I do now? Okay, relax... Where's the glue!!

In my mind glue is a cover up, a sham, and substitute born out of desperation. I've done something stupid, like put too much pressure on a plastic part and now I'm hoping that this stuff can bail me out of hot water.

"Well if his hat is attached to that beam, and he's hanging on it.... Shoot, man! It should hold this tiny plastic tab on."

Right?! Wrong! How many times has glue let me down. Plenty. I have good reason not to trust it.

I now have to put that aside, because in woodworking, glue stands alone. Many tables are connected solely with glue joints. In fact a really nice piece of furniture is one without any fasteners. No nails, no screws, no dowels. Just solid joinery and yellow glue. Weird. So if you spend a few hundred dollars on a nice bed or bookcase, you can almost bet it will be void of any metal. I don't know about you, but I think, using furniture like that that takes faith. For me it's a lot to come to grips with.

Declining Digits

"Where have all the fingers gone, long time passing?
Where have all the fingers gone, long time ago?
Where have all the fingers gone, gone to table saws everyone
When will they ever learn, when will they ever learn?"


I have a new hobby. Finger cutting. Okay, given the squeamish nature of some folks, and the opening lines of this post let me pause. I would like to say that I have never in my life cut myself with a power saw. I have all my fingers and no gruesome tales to spin here. Honestly.

That being said, my new hobby has my certain hazards that never existed with my other pastimes. Computing is a rather safe use of your free time. I have never, for instance, worried about safe mouse handling, or what horrible things I could do to myself if I left my attention drift.

August for me, was the month that I acquired a table saw. Life will never be the same. I now can demolish an unsuspecting piece of wood in a spectacular display of flying sawdust, whirling blades of carbide tipped steel and the added potential of severe bodily harm. All in the name of 'fun'.

Is it dangerous? Absolutely, but so are many hobbies. Motorcycling, and then there's...birdwatching? Okay I'm drawing a blank, but I know there are others like, shark petting or something. Sure it might not be as interesting as being a gongoozler, but it sure ranks at least second best.

What I find most rewarding is the potential. Potentially I could be building stuff. Currently I've spending most of time getting my shop setup. It's very self serving at this point. I've only build a couple of items, but I've spend hours in the garage. I always feel busy, but I'm not sure how productive I've been. For instance I spent an entire afternoon pretending electricity was never invented, as I used a hand saw and chisels to make dovetails. After two hours I had chopped through an unreal amount of wood yet still unable to get a really clean fit. All the while an expensive dovetail jig sat weeping under my workbench. There is a whole branch of these fanatics in woodworking. They call themselves hand tool users. It's like a freaking Neanderthal cult.

It's that sort of total time sucking ability that really draws me to woodworking. It takes time to plan, design and then build jigs to help you build the real stuff you intend to build. Honest, this is a normal woodworking practice. I've spent my last two weekends building jigs for my table saw. These are setups that help me do things like, cut clean 45 degree angles, crosscuts, splines and other exciting ways to cut away at your expensive planks of wood. It's like hanging out with your doddering grandpa for the whole day. I'm totally loving it. Now, if you'll excuse me I have to go and wax my table saw.

Bloggers Block

After cranking out over 400 posts, I'm having trouble getting inspired.

Am I alive?
Yes.

Do I want to post?
Yes.

Is this a post?
No, not really.

I'll honestly be trying to think of something soon.
Maybe.

Spatula Ponderings


"What is this?"



"What about this?"



"Now, this one?"



"What do we call this thing?"


"How about this one?!"



Is it just me or are half of all kitchen utensils called Spatulas? What is that all about!? How many different items are so unimportant they all get the same name. What someone just spent?

"Okay, were almost done here today, lets see.... we'll call this a bowl, that thing over there a knife. But we'll spell it with a 'k' to drive everyone crazy. Okay that leaves us with this... I was thinking 'colander' or we might just lump it with the sieves. What else?

"We haven't even gotten to the utensil drawer."

"You're kidding me!? How long have we been at this?! Okay you know what...everything in there is a...a...spatula!"

"All of them?"

"You want to stay here all night, or head home?!"

"..."

"Well?"

"How do you spell that?"

20 Things I Learned From Outages

  • Now is a perfect time to panic.

  • No matter what you may think, everyone knows it's your fault.

  • Everyone is always losing 'thousands of dollars' during outages.

  • When the network is down, you burn calories at an exponential rate.

  • People who haven't worked in the last year are suddenly desperate to get busy.

  • How many managers can you cram into your workspace?

  • When the network is down, you'll have your answer.

  • Manager love to take up space and offer valuable 'suggestions'.

  • Ignoring these 'suggestions' proves you don't have what it takes for management.

  • It also means the network might be fixed sometime soon.

  • No matter what, payroll gets fixed first. There is no exception to this rule.

  • The answer to all other inquires is, "Yea, I'm working on it."

  • Time passes in two modes during outages. 'The crawl' and 'freaky lighting mode'.

  • Freaky lighting mode is while you are troubleshooting.

  • The crawl occurs after you think you've fixed it.

  • More than likely, it's worse than you think.

  • Never say 'it's fixed.' This is a sure sign you have failed.

  • Once you send the 'all clear email', is when the second shoe will drop.

  • For some reason you never expect that second shoe. No matter how many times you've done this.

  • Get comfortable. You are probably going to be here for a while.
  • Deadly A-Salt

    Harvested from almost every corner of the planet, used extensively in homes of millions if not billions of people worldwide. It's obvious that this foe is not going to loosen its grip anytime in the near future. It has you where it wants you, always shaking and thirsting for more.

    Lets face it, salt is a naughty spice. Is it a spice or a seasoning? Is there a difference? I want to say spices come from roots, but I'm not sure. Regardless, I always think of spices as exotic, like nutmeg, coriander or galangal. Salt is just so familiar. Like your friendly neighborhood grocer.

    #START: OFF THE BEATEN PATH RANT
    What is up with the name grocer. Could there be a worse occupational title? Hello! It sounds, from his title, that this man is just mired in filth all day long. "Rotten Produce! Get your rotten produce here!!"

    Maker of barrels: Cooper.
    Exchanger of monies: Banker.
    Liar and kisser of babies: Politician.
    Purveyor of food goods: Grocer.

    Personal I think someone drew the short straw on this one!
    #END: OFF THE BEATEN PATH RANT

    Anyway...

    Salt is just so familiar. Like...well...like a close friend. You just couldn't imagine the world without them. Little did you know that this close friend of yours, was an evil fiend of the highest order, ready to stab you in the back.

    1. Salt makes you thirsty. Easy proven, eat salty foods, and you get thirsty.

    "Well, it still really tastes good. I suppose I can let this one go. So I'll drink a bit more water, soda or grape Kool-Aid. I'm certainly not giving up salt!"

    2. Salt bloats you. Even in small amounts, you require more liquids, but salt is a greedy master and will not relinquish that liquid willingly.

    "So I retain a little extra water, it's just salts nature. It's not like it's doing it on purpose. What do I care if I can't spin my wedding ring anymore."

    3. Salt makes you hungry. A common tool by enterprising restaurants who give out free appetizers loaded with salt, to further their own food sales. They even go so far to put a shaker on the table, so you can 'have a bit more'. Bit by bit, you eat yourself into a bloated stuffed salt surrendering trophy piece.

    "It's not salts fault that I eat too, much. I'd probably overeat even without salts loving nudges. Salt is a friend of mine. There is no way you can make me stop salting my fries!"

    Salt can kill you. This fact long known by snails, slugs and dandelions, salt is a low down murder disguised in your fancy ceramic pug dog shaker! Excessive salt can raise your risk of hypertension, edema, ulcers and stomach cancer. In fact if you consume enough salt (about 1 g per kg of body weight) you can just die from that. Salt isn't your friend, in fact salt will only be truly happy if you are dead, smiling out from the Morton's cylinder with glee and joy.

    "Salt is Evil!"

    Yes my friends, your best friend might be your worst nightmare. Salt is evil. Now... where did I put my sea-salt and vinegar chips?!

    Reincarnating Inanimate Objects

    With a title like that, you just had to click and see.

    "Okay Peter, what nonsense are you going to start driveling on about now?"

    No, it's true. I'm reincarnating inanimate objects with the hope of monetary gain. I've reincarnated a rather unattractive wood pallet into, what I believe is a very cool table. How's that for a step up in caste? Sure beats coming back as a cow.


    Patricia and I have been trying to figure out what to call this table creation. She thought it reminded her of a tiki stlye. I was going for green, or recycled. This might surprise some of you out there, until it occurs to you, that down deep I'm a capitalist. This means that I believe everyone's money spends the same. My goal is to try and get some of it and test that theory. So if it sells tables, I'll cave.

    After a good deal of 'discussing' we compromised. Its a rustic/'green'/tiki bar/western/reincarnated pallet table. Well. I hope that helps to clear it up for you. It's definitely rustic. I didn't plane down the top to a smooth surface. That might be because I like the cool ridges and small bumps that let me know where the wood came from. Sort of it's soul. Or it might be that I don't own an electric thickness planer and after three hours with a hand rasp and sheet of sandpaper I passed out in a sweaty heap at the base of my workbench, thus declaring that stage, 'completed'. I'll let you decide which is true.


    I have to say for my first table, and given the state of the raw materials, it is very well built. I came out square and level. It's a little wobbly at the edges, due to the fact I made the base a bit to small. But all in all, I tried to apply good techniques while building it. Patricia found me a really cool cabinetry book published back in the mid 60's. It has really given me a base for understanding furniture construction and classic methods. Its also cool to see men with Vitalis in their hair, wearing slacks and dress shirts assembling furniture.

    Besides a small piece of plywood used to attach the tabletop to the center post, every bit of this table was recycled from a pallet. I took said pallet, and a couple others, from my office. After a number of weeks, a fistful of slivers, cuts, and a good deal of fun. This table appeared on my workbench. This table just oozes interesting. And it's an instant conversation piece.

    I posted it up on craigslist this morning. So now the hope is that someone, somewhere will think to themselves:

    "You know what I need? I sturdy, rustic table with an uneven surface, made from the remnants of a shipping pallet, to put all my really important stuff on. I wonder if I can find one of those?"

    "Guess what? I might just know where you could find something like that!"

    A Passing Decade

    Ten years have passed since the last time I dressed up in a tuxedo.

    A lot can happen over ten years. It's amazing when you look back at a span of years and realize what path your life has taken and where you have evolved to as a person, couple and family. Things like moving six times, cycling through 7 different jobs, buying two houses, the birth of two children, losing people that you loved, making new friends, and the fading of others. Holding conversations with youths that you can recall in diapers, and wondering what became of people that you used to know so well.

    The last time I wore a tuxedo was on my wedding day. Over ten years ago. Ten years. Wow.

    Life is hard. Marriage is work. You don't know that when you're standing there, at the base of the aisle, as your bride-to-be, decked out in all her beauty and glory, comes marching down to be with you forever after. All you are thinking, is "I love her. That will be enough." And it is for a time. But life isn't all about tuxedos, gowns and white packages that say "many happy returns". Those many happy returns are yours to work out. A note can't do much on it's own. Love is not the flutter in your chest. Love runs much deeper, so deep that some days it's hard to find. Marriage isn't always easy. Sometimes it sucks.

    In ten short years I have generated a thousand tearful encounters from my thoughtless words and deeds. I have yelled when I should have been understanding, and silent when I should have consoled. I've seen days pass in conflict while solutions are avoided and disregard due to my anger and self pity. I find that 'Why can't you just be this' or 'Why did you do it like this?' are frequent used arrows in my quiver of domestic vocabulary, and that the salve of 'I appreciate everything you do' is, at many times, so very hard to find. In ten years I have created dozens of catastrophes, agonies and broken my share of dishes and hearts.

    In ten short years I've uttered ten thousand 'I sorry's, I've begged for forgiveness when it had been handed out so freely only moments before. I've purchased more flowers and boxes of tissue than I can even recall. At times I've felt like a villain and days I was sure I was a saint. Arguments, fights and defeats are a normal part of life. They cannot altogether be avoided, but if you believe you will never see them, then you are assured to find yourself mired in them.

    In ten short years, I have been blessed with countess 'I love you's and buried under welcome piles 'thank you's and hugs. I've smiled, sung, danced, and lived happier than any other period in my life. I've laughed with my bride about things, just to laugh and walked hand in hand down the dirtiest street with a smile on my face. I've basked in the glow of her smile and been ignited over her joy of things that had faded to mere embers in my soul. Disneyland, tacos, Christmas, and piles of sharp cheddar cheese to name but a few.

    Today you have a chance to recall your ups and downs. Embrace the ups. Recall the love and hope and joy but don't forget the downs. Not so you can dwell on them, but rather as a marker to remind you where you've come from. If you don't remember where you've been, you might find yourself driving back that way someday.

    Decades pass and life goes on. Today I've remember that flutter in my heart, standing at the base of church waiting for my life to start and I can't wait to start a fresh again.

    Geeks In Mass

    So here I am in a classy hotel conference room, listening to an articulate, well groomed marketing rep from a large computer manufacturing firm talking to a pile of greasy, unkempt socially inept geeky network administrators and managers. It's a very interesting way to spend a day.

    Geeks are so not cool. Well we are, but not to others. Geeks have a hierarchy just like any society, but it's not based on any traditional pecking order. Not muscle or looks, but mostly aptitude. Applied to any specialized geek field. The geek who knows the most about a particular subject is higher ranked in geekyness and therefore cool. To an outsider you would have trouble sticking a 'cool' label on many of these guys. I say guys, because out of the sixty some odd geeks in the room, there were two females. Both of whom must have been managers, due to their constant furrowed brows during the presentations.

    While staring up at the person on the dais in the front of the heavily chandeliered room, I imagined that the marketing people, who were running the show, where the same jocks and cheerleaders who used to shun and jeer these new found "clients". Trying desperately to interact with us, while not having a clue why we are the way we are. Meanwhile the geeks are staring blankly at a bubbly smiling, excited glee-squad-leader trying to get an ounce of emotion from the pale faced masses. Sorry. No dice.

    As I look around I see people doing what I'm doing. Nodding sometimes while interfacing with their PDA.

    Questions? The geeks look up. A handful of palms raise.

    "I'd like to ask a crazy theoretical techy question that has nothing whatsoever to do with your perky presentation."

    "Great question. See me after, so I can pretend to care about your dorky question later. Just don't come to close to my crisply pressed trousers."

    So the manicured hand and shiny haired individual continues without missing a beat. She smiles, cracks witty well rehearsed jokes, and laughs alone to herself. Probably thinking something like.

    "How did I come to this point in my life? Pandering to people I would normally give a wide berth on the street."

    The truth is simply this. Geeks don't do interaction well. I'm sorry, its just who we are.

    Hey, is that the new smart phone on your hip?

    Pitching Bowling Balls

    Harry's life as an investment banker wasn't going very well. So far he had already managed to lose $1300 in capitol from his sole customers portfolio since Monday. It was Tuesday. This wasn't going to look good on his resume. What he couldn't be sure of was whether or not he could fix it. Instead of trying to... Harry just quit. It has always worked for him in the past.

    Quitting was the only thing that Harry was really good at. It wasn't for lack of trying. He'd held over 100 jobs in his rather stunning career. Most lasted at least a day or so. Some, well, some didn't have as much longevity. Like the night he tried his hand at bar tending. Twenty two minutes into his training, Harry almost killed his boss. He was reaching for the gin, when he bumped a rather expensive bottle of tequila off the top shelf and bludgeoned his manager in the back skull.

    As he tried to stop the bleeding Harry joked, "It's true what they say about tequila! That stuff can really knock you out!"

    "Your fired"

    Harry smiled weakly, "Is that the tequila talking?"

    "Get out!"

    Mostly things didn't go that bad. He just didn't have the ability to hold down a job. Mostly he quit or just walked out. He'd been a baker, waiter, clerk, bus driver, salesman, grocery stocker, and car wash attendant. He just always felt as though he couldn't cut it. He was used to that feeling, it was like a close and understanding friend.

    "This isn't for you," He'd tell Harry. "Let bail."

    Harry didn't complain when he got fired. Mostly he expected it. Well, except for the time he lit the pekingese on fired during his week as a professional dog walker. He never saw that one coming!

    "Johnny Billmo! Tell mommy what happened!"

    "It wasn't my fault!" Harry tried to explain, "This guy just pitched his lit cigarette right in Johnny's path. And the stupid dog went over to sniff it..."

    "Johnny Billmo is an purebred..."

    "...and then POOF! He went up like a dried out Christmas tree!""

    "...award winning Pekingese. He is not a stupid dog!"

    "Well he looked pretty stupid running around like a mop on fire! I was working hard to save your dumb dog! It's just superficial!"

    "Dumb dog! Superficial! Johnny Billmo hair is mostly gone! And the parts that are left are crispy smoking hard blackened wads! He has a show tomorrow!"

    "Well at least he's alive! You should be thanking me!"

    "Will you apologize to Johnny Billmo for your slanderous insults?"

    "Never mind I quit."

    So here he is again, out of work, and out of ideas. Not many jobs were left open in this town. Its amazing how your credibility and good name can tank after only one hundred failed positions. Only one thing to do.

    Harry drove down to the bowling alley and sneaked down to the lane. He grabbed a shiny red bowling ball and shuffled out the side door unnoticed by anyone. After a long walk he was up on top of the highest hill in town. He squatted down and released his prize. As he stood there he watched as the shiny red ball began to pick up speed. It disappeared from view over the crest of the hill and he sat down and wondered what would happened.

    Republican Rant

    I found myself typing up a political rant that I wanted to post. KludgeSpot is not place for serious political conversations, even one sided ones. If you want to weigh in, I would enjoy hearing your viewpoints.

    You can do so here.

    Title Offerings

    There are days when I find that I have more fun coming up with the title of my post than actually writing anything. Recently these days have become more frequent. I'm having trouble thinking of the inconsequential more and more often. My head is involved in politics and work. Two things that do little to add to the inane and bizarre profundities that you all seem so keen on.

    So...for no other reason than my sheer desire to have something new on my page, I offer you some titles that have been floating in my head. I have tried to make a couple into posts, but don't get much further than a sentence or two. As such, I'm submitting them to the public, to use, and abuse and change. If you do use one... I'd like to know so I can read it.

    Ten Posts With Only A Title-

    "Fitting Straight Jackets" (It's a little tight around the waist)

    "The Awful Truth Of Shoe Leather" (Dogs and toddlers agree)

    "Beating Kittens" (There is a special place in my heart for this one)

    "When Coffee Cups Attack" (A recent nightmare of mine)

    "The Fingernail Facade" (What are they hiding...?)

    "Of Paper Airplanes And Wooden Shoes" (When the real thing just won't do)

    "Licking Bob Jones" (Punching or tasting...it's your choice)

    "Dead Lifting Servers" (A geeks workout routine)

    "Jumping To Belafonte" (Like you've never tried it?!)

    "Escape From The Pickle Plant" (...I have no idea where this one came from...)

    Chasing Pitchforks

    The users are revolting. They've discovered that we are hording vast resources while doing our best to squash their prosperity. We only give them what we deem appropriate then scold them when they step foot outside those confines. It seems that one of the geeks have let it slip that were are sitting on the proverbial pile of food.

    Two weeks ago
    "Hello? What was that?", Another threating call. "Yes! It's true! We have tons of hard drive space. No. No. No, You still can't have a file share larger than 200MB. I don't care what kind of wood your office furniture is made of! We need the extra space important things, like episodes of Firefly and Planet of The Apes. We can't just give it out to anyone!"

    Apparently this was not the correct response. Once word trickled through the office that IT was hording resources for themselves and making everyone else live on a 'perceived unsustainable' amount of drive space. The rebellious mutterings became louder.

    "We can take down a load of geeks!"

    "It's not about strength it's about power. They control communication and the infrastructure."

    "Plus you need a scan card to get into their section."

    "We'll find a way."

    One weeks ago
    We are now under siege. The mail room makes us box up our own packages, the IT supply cabinet always seems a bit bare and recently the security guard has been 'accidentally' ticketing and towing our cars. So it seems the users have given us little choice. We will have to respond.

    Three days ago
    We've started up a new campaign call '/usr/bin/bad', in an attempt to beat down the masses and reassert our natural right at the top of the office heap. So far We've been randomly deleting email's marked 'urgent', and flushing vast amounts of mp3's from the user shares in an attempt to quell the uprising and bucket their morale.

    Yesterday
    Today, finance has changed the rules and threatened to bring in the office trebuchet. Otherwise known as 'payroll'. Things just got a whole lot uglier. I'm not sure where this is going, but they are attempting to bypass our scan card doors. Payroll is indeed a might force.

    Today
    As the scan panels slowly clicked from red to green in all parts of the IT section, we piled into our last bastion of security. The server room. Dawning coats and shaking our heads, our breathing is inaudible over the soothing whir and hum of our faithful masters. Many among us begin to lament their present circumstances.

    "Who would have thought that a mass of users who can't even remember their own passwords from day to day would be capable of this?"

    "They probably hired a consultant"

    So here we were, with our hand on the button of the storage array, threating the users, if they persisted all is lost. And there they are, outside the glass window looking in, as resolute as ever for more, more, more! No matter who it hurts.

    I have no idea how this will end. My only real regret is that the servers will have to watch.