Thursday, April 28, 2005

A rifle for Thing 2

Thing 2 has never fired a gun. I can't recall her ever handling one. She did go shooting with us once in Indiana but she spent the time in her godfathers Suburban playing Barbie. Speaking of Barbie - here is a rifle perfect for Barbie fans (scroll down a bit). Thanks for the link Kevin.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Bedroom Renovation - Day 11

Since the Wife changed our minds and wanted two walls painted it was time to make the walls pretty. I just love drywall dust. :-) Second coat of mud on tonight and more sanding tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

A Hate Crime?

A couple of days ago a story broke that there was a 'hate mail' incident at a small Christian college not too far from where I live. It was interesting as Thing1 also attends a small Christian college not to far from where I live - just the other end of Chicago.

When this story broke I jokingly suggested to the Wife that it would be really funny if it turned out that the 'hate mail' originated with a minority student out for attention or trying to get other students in trouble with the school. After Jesse Jackson showed up to grab his share of the spotlight this thought popped up more and more.

So today then it came out that a black female was the originator of the mail I laughed. Not that I was right but that her motive was to convince her parents that this small Christian school was "unsafe". We visited 3 different small schools and the one thing that these schools bragged about was the incredibly low crime rates. Even simple theft was non-existant.

So at the end of the day the student is charged with felony hate crime and disorderly conduct. I hope that the school is considering a civil suit against her to try and recover costs incurred with locking down the campus and relocating students.

What bothers me is the whole concept of 'hate crimes'. Why should one race be treated differently than another? Isn't that what the civil rights movement was about? That all men were created and should be treated equally? Why should a white person, who calls a black person racist names and attacks him be charged differently than a black man, who calls a white man rascist names and attacks him? It doesn't make any sense to me.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Bedroom Renovation - Day 9

A day for shopping

A simple trip to Menards. Ended up changing plans. Two walls will have paneling and the rest will be painted. Guess I need to clean up the mud a bit. Got the new wire shelving for the closet and lots of paint and stain. And Menards was nice enough to be giving out 8% off coupons at the door. Helped out quite a bit. Back to work tomorrow.

Penguin Terrorists?

I got this link in the mail at work.

Thing1 likes Penguins (and he's not even a Linux fan). I wonder what he thinks of this?

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Meet the Fockers

The sequel to 'Meet the Parents'. Thing1 and the Wife went and saw this in the theatre. I sat down to watch it last night with the wife. Now - I really liked 'Meet the Parents'. DeNiro was great, Ben Stiller and Teri Polo were just about perfect together, it just worked. No strain - lots of fun.

'Meet the Fockers' - well I was disapointed. Actually I was sad when Thing1 told me that Barbara Striesand was going to be in it. I just can't stomach her. So I watched. DeNiro was his usual cool but the movie just seem forced and trying just too hard. It was funny in parts but just not that good.

Worth a rental - maybe.

Bedroom Renovation - Day 8

Yea - I skipped a day but talking about putting up drywall is like watching paint dry. Really boring. On the other hand all the drywall is upped and taped. A little bit of cleanup work and the paneling starts going up. We were going to paint the paneling but have decided to leave it what ever color it comes till we tire of it. Then we'll paint it.

Stopped by the 3 Day Blinds store while out wandering today. They have some room darkening honeycomb blinds that look pretty interesting. Cheaper than the local Home Depot and takes less time to deliver. If I can get things in order quick enough to take advantage of their sale we'll order some.

More shopping tomorrow - paneling, paint, and new shelving for the closet.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Bedroom Renovation - Day 6

A couple more sheets of drywall up. Should get all that done on Friday. Then it's fun with mud and tape. We're paneling over the drywall so I don't have to get things perfect. Nice but not perfect.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Bedroom Renovation - Day 5

3 sheets of drywall up tonight. The carpeting makes for an interesting time as the tack strip at the edge pushes the carpeting up enough so I can't get the sheet in close. Luckily we're replacing the carpeting so I can pull it loose and get the drywall placed properly.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Bedroom Renovation - Day 4

Yea! The insulation is done. Well most of it. The closet will need a little bit when I rip out that wall but that'll take a few hours.

I hate doing insulation. Even with a mask, gloves, and eyewear I still itch. Drywall starts tomorrow...

Marines 2, Sucide Bombers 0

A couple of Marines take out two armored suicide bomb vehicles. Read here and here.

Go get 'em Marines!


Thing1 sent this along.

After being interviewed by the school administration, the eager teaching prospect said, "Let me see if I've got this right.

    You want me to go into that room with all those kids, and fill their every waking moment with a love for learning.

    And I'm supposed to instill a sense of pride in their ethnicity, modify their disruptive behavior, observe them for signs of abuse and even censor their t-shirt messages and dress habits.

    You want me to wage a war on drugs and sexually transmitted diseases, check their backpacks for weapons of mass destruction, and raise their self esteem.

    You want me to teach them patriotism, good citizenship, sportsmanship, fair play, how to register to vote, how to balance a checkbook, and how to apply for a job.

    I am to check their heads for lice, maintain a safe environment, recognize signs of anti-social behavior, offer advice, write letters of recommendation for student employment and scholarships, encourage respect for the cultural diversity of others, and oh, make sure that I give the girls in my class fifty percent of my attention.

    My contract requires me to work on my own time after school, evenings and weekends grading papers. Also, I must spend my summer vacation, at my own expense, working toward advance certification and a Masters degree.

    And on my own time you want me to attend committee and faculty meetings, PTA meetings, and participate in staff development training. I am to be a paragon of virtue, larger than life, such that my very presence will awe my students into being obedient and respectful of authority.

    You want me to incorporate technology into the learning experience, monitor web sites, and relate personally with each student. That includes deciding who might be potentially dangerous and/or liable to commit a crime in school.

    I am to make sure all students pass the mandatory state exams, even those who don't come to school regularly or complete any of their assignments.

    Plus, I am to make sure that all of the students with handicaps get an equal education regardless of the extent of their mental or physical handicap.

    And I am to communicate regularly with the parents by letter, telephone, newsletter and report card.

    All of this I am to do with just a piece of chalk, a computer, a few books, a bulletin board, a big smile AND on a starting salary that qualifies my family for food stamps!

    You want me to do all of this and yet you expect me......


Monday, April 18, 2005

Bedroom Renovation - Day 3.

An easy day - just a couple of trips to the local Home Depot for supplies. Drywall is always fun to move around by yourself. I picked up one of these Stanley lifters and it made moving the sheets so easy.

Back to insulation tomorrow...

Buy music - Support SOWF

Like country music? (ok - I really don't like much of it but the Wife loves the stuff)
Want to support the survivors of Americas Spec Ops Forces who died in the Global War on Terror?

Easy - buy this CD

The artist was a member of Task Force Ranger (Mogadishu, Somailia - the basis of the book and movie: Black Hawk Down)

Blackfive has more

Bedroom Renovation - Day 2

Day 2 ends with insulation up. Not quite all of it as I had to redo the electrical so that the boxes were actually attached to the studs and drywall rings installed. It's amazing how much quieter the room is with the windows closed.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Bedroom Renovation - Day 1

The starting point. Looking from the door into the room.

Off come the walls.

Not bad for a days work.

My house is almost 50 years old. Built before modern insulation was part of the plan. The space between the 2x4's was 'filled' with 1" thick insulation that was missing in a number of places. Lots of gaps between 2x4s as well. The outlets were clipped to the drywall. Much to fix...

Carnival of Cordite #9

Lots of good reading

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Think Pink

My employer is going through some financial hard times. The director has laid out plans for the next year and staff reductions are part of the plan. There is a buyout offer going on and after that layoffs begin - if necessary. Morale is starting to drop.

So earlier this week I walk up to the interoffice mailboxes and there are pink pieces of paper in most of the mailboxes. Including mine. The heart begins to race. I look at the paper and its an announcement for internal classes.

Bad choice of colors. It did make for some fun with some of my more excitable co-workers.

A Scouting Tragedy

A 18 year old boy helping out at a Boy Scout meeting died Tuesday night.

This hits close as I spent many evenings and weekends as an adult leader in Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts supervising many of the same activities that these boys were doing. One little mistake and a life is gone - much too early.

I pray that God be with the family and friends of this young man.

Monday, April 11, 2005

First Date

Well not quite a real date but Thing2 was supposed to go to a school dance last Friday with a friend, who happens to be a boy. Things didn't quite turn out as planned.

The friend, referred to as Z, managed to get himself sent home from school early on Friday. His Grandmother called his mom who was traveling on business and she grounded him. Z's mom then called us and let us know that he would not be going to the dance. Thing2 was upset. She called a girlfriend and they met at the dance and still had a good time.

Today Thing2 was waiting at school for Z. According to Z's mom, Thing2 "ripped him a new one". Not bad for a 13 year old. I knew that Hell hath no fury like a scorned women. Maybe it applies to teen girls as well.

Country Music Awards

I was watching this for a bit waiting for 24 to come on. With Jeff Foxworthy as host it was good clean fun. He had a line that just fit.
    Sure I listed to rap music. Daily. At every stop light and stop sign
I can relate to that. :-(

While I'm not much of a fan of the genre I enjoy Montgomery Gentry, Big and Rich, and Toby Keith. So when countrys boy band, Rascal Flats, won for best duo/group I realized that too many teenage girls listen to country. At least 24 is on soon...

I stopped complaining

about sore muscles a long time ago.

Sunday was a beautiful day here in Northern Illinois. 75 degrees, sun, a nice breeze. One almost forgot what a lousy state this is. Even the post-Valium mind fog was gone. After Church it seemed like a good time to rake out the lawn, clean up flower beds, etc, so I spent the day doing that. 7 hours later the front yard looked pretty good. One more flower bed to clean up but it was time for dinner.

After cleaning up and cooking dinner I laid down to do my daily stretching. Hmmm - there were muscles hurting where I had forgotten I had muscles. I started to whine and it hit me that there are Marines and Soldiers that have lost limbs and volunteered to go back into combat. Who am I to whine about a little muscle pain. So I did my exercises. In quiet reverance.

Blackfive has an update on a Marine that you may want to check out.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Nice Limit

100 MPH in Michigan

Better Living through Chemistry

Thanks to bad genes I get to enjoy the comforts of an MRI tube a couple of times a year. The first time I had one I was ok till the tech clamped this mask over my face (necessary when checking for the presence of a brain) to keep my head still. Forty minutes later I was ready to scream. I never thought I was claustrophic till that day. Several months later I needed to repeat the test so I asked for a open MRI. Much nicer and they gave me a CD with pictures of my brain. That was ok till the report came back and noted some "unusual signals" that could possibly mean about 15 different things - one of which was Multiple Sclerosis. Since I have siblings with MS it raised a few flags with my doctor. So off I went to a neurologist. It was a most interesting appointment: if one was interested in everything but MS. The doctor was 70+ and not in the best of health. He also had a pretty good case of the shakes. One of the things he wanted to do was a spinal tap. Not!

I told my doctor about the specialist and he decided to sent me to a different doctor at Loyola Medical Center. After a three month wait for an appointment the first thing he told me after looking at my latest MRI was I needed a closed one. Head and spine. About 1.5 hours worth. In that tiny little tube. He also gave me a prescription for Valium. Made it bearable. Not pleasant but bearable. And no MS. Well I have one of the signs but no symtoms.

So today was my latest MRI. Valium was again my friend. It kinda wiped me out for the day. Groggy and foggy for several hours afterwards. The wife (a RN with 20+ years of experience) tells me that people take a larger dose than I took every day. Just to function. I'd be asleep on the couch all day.

Hopefully I won't have to repeat this anytime soon.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Carnival of Cordite #8

It's up for your reading enjoyment!

Strikeouts for Troops

Oakland Athletic's pitcher Barry Zito will donate $100 for every batter he strikes out this season. The donations will benefit military hospitals like Walter Reed and Bethesda.

Barry is encouraging other pitchers to follow his lead.

It would be nice to see Kerry Wood, Roger Clemens, and Randy Johnson join in on this.

Maybe Sammy Sosa could donate $100 for every time he strikes out...

Duck Duck Goose

We have lots of geese at work. This time of year they are staking our their nesting areas and getting cranky. No one really bothers them but none get protected by the U. S. Secret Service

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

The ducks came to vist too

Posted by Hello

First Flowers

Posted by Hello

Spring has sprung and so have the Daffodills

Monday, April 04, 2005


Free Application for Federal Student Aid

This is something that students (and their parents) need to fill out every year to see if they qualify for financial aid. Or if the student is applying for Stafford loans or any other type of assistance. Most schools requre it before the student gets their financial package.

It only takes an hour or so online. The renewal about half that. When you're done you get (postal) mail with the expected parental contribution. I have an easier way to do all this and it's pretty accurate.

Take the parents gross income, divide by 4 and thats about it. In our case it's just slightly more than Thing1's bill after his package has been applied so we get nothing. Oh well - make too much to get aid and too little to just write a check. Welcome to the middle class!

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Sin City

Thing1 and I went to see Sin City today. I had never read one of Frank Millers graphic novels so this was new to me. The movie is dark, violent, and sometimes a bit confusing. It is also beautifully made and pulls no punches when delivering the story.

Bruce Willis is awesome as is Mickey Rourke. Elijah Wood and Josh Hartnett get to show their dark sides (very dark in Elijah's case) and Jessica Alba and Rosario Dawson get to show off - well - just show off. Carla Gugino (loved her in Karen Sisko) isn't on screen enough and Benicio Del Toro demonstrates what happens with a 1911 that has a plugged barrel. (Springfield Armory 1911's were everywhere in the movie)

The story has twists and turns and, while not for the squeamish, is worth a couple of hours of your time.

Hard to believe that this is the same director(Robert Rodriquez) that gave us Spy Kids.

Carnival of Cordite - #7

Available now!

Verizon Wireless

We've been Verizon Wireless customers for about 1 and a half years. Before that it was T-Mobile/Voicestream for 2+ years. Back when we had phone problems (actual hardware problems) a call to Voicestream had a new phone in the mail. With a particular model of phone that was a good thing as there was a battery problem.

We have family plan so that Thing1 and the wife can talk whenever they want. After Thing2s school bus became less than reliable I got her one too. Nothing fancy - just a low end Nokia. It's a nice little full featured phone. Last week Thing2 said she couldn't plug in the charger. Took a look at it and the pin was busted. I called the store where I purchased the phone and I was told to bring it in and they would replace it.

So The wife, Thing1, and Thing2 head off to the mall where the store is. Different clerk than I talked to. He refused to do anything. Even a call to Verizon headquarters went nowhere. At this point The Wife was furious and Thing2 was crying. Really lousy customer service. We were ready to pay the fees and dump Verizon. Shopping continued for the girls while Thing1 went wandering. Later on he walked into the same store to look at the PDA/phones and a different sales person approached him. She asked if he was a wireless customer and he said yes, we as a family were customers were Verizon customers but thinking of changing. She asked why so he explained. A minute later she said to bring the phone back and she'll replace it. Five minutes later the phone was replaced and everybody was happy.

Turns out the sales clerk who saved the day was the same one who sold me the phone. Thanks Cortney.

David T. Hardy

I first encountered Mr. Hardy when doing some research on 'Bowling for Columbine' when Thing1 was in high school and his Intro to Law teacher was pushing BFC as the "whole truth" on Columbine. He was kind enough to answer a couple of questions via email to help Thing1 battle his teacher.

Thanks to the nice people at MooreWatch I learned that Mr. Hardy has a new website. If you're a believer in the 2nd ammendment check his site out.

Oh - he shares my feelings for Barney.