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Monday, June 27, 2005

Mixmania! The Summer Mix 

OARS Family

I've burned my Mixmania disc and gotten it into the mail, so I'd better get my list online. I would have waited until July 1, as Jim's Instructions instruct, but The Nuclear Family is going on a bit of a vacation, so I did it now. Rather than picking songs that were my Songs of Summer, I've picked a selection of songs where the Meta-information makes me think of summer. The above picture perfectly captures what summer means to me. Starting in the 1982, and until 1988 (that would be 7 summers for those keeping count), I couldn't wait to finish finals so I could take off for the hills and go whitewater rafting (and, no it didn't take me 7 years to graduate, I got a Master's too). So rivers and summer are interchangeable concepts in my head. I suppose we could also consider this my What I Looked Like In The 80's post since that's me in the back of the boat. As an added bonus, my Dad, an Uncle and 3 Cousins are in the boat too.

  1. Intro The Offspring
  2. Big River Johnny Cash
  3. Don't Cross The River America
  4. Dry River Dave Alvin
  5. Down The River Fat Paw
  6. Where The River Flows Collective Soul
  7. When The River Runs Dry Hunters & Collectors
  8. Dam That River Alice In Chains Dirt
  9. Down By The Riverbed The Backsliders
  10. A River For Him Emmylou Harris
  11. Down To The River To Pray Alison Krauss
  12. Riverwide Sheryl Crow
  13. Rivers To Cross The Alarm
  14. Green River Creedence Clearwater Revival
  15. River of Fools Los Lobos
  16. Misery Is The River Of The World Tom Waits
  17. Big Wide River The Rave-Ups
  18. To The River John Mellencamp
  19. Bend In The River Leftover Salmon
  20. Take Me To The River Annie Lennox
  21. Pain Lies On The Riverside Live
  22. Rivers Of Babylon Melodians

On reflection, one of the songs is a Song of Summer for me. I have fond memories of listening to Green River on my Walkman while floating down the Rogue River in Oregon.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Domestic Man! 

I did one of the non-outwardly-satisfying home improvement projects this weekend. I replaced the guts of the both toilets. So, even though neither one leaks any more and I'm going to save money on the water bill, you can't see anything. I feel a quiet satsifaction every time I flush, but it's not as cool as relaxing on the lawn I put in or the deck I built. Or gazing at the siding I put on while I was laid off (talk about optimism, I was spending money to fix up the house while I was out of a job. I assumed that before the family unit ran out of money and couldn't make the payment on the house, I'd have a new job and be able to contribute to the bottom line again). The only other positive thing in this weekend's project is that it didn't take very long. Putting in the French Drain took forever and it's almost completely invisible. I guess this means I need to think up a new overt project to do; the basement windows are kind of crappy, I could replace them...

To steal something from Pop's Bucket, This post on the Narcissus Scale: 10.0

Friday, June 24, 2005

That Fat Fuck 

I've been letting my thoughts on That Fat Fuck Karl Rove's statement that Democrats Liberals love Osama and want terrorist to kill more Americans percolate around in my mind. And I am firmly in the camp with those that don't want him to apologize. Every time he comes up in conversation the proper response is to say, "I'm not interested in discussing the putrid thoughts of That Fat Fuck Karl Rove. He is a blight on the American Landscape and until he can keep a civil tongue in his head I'd rather discuss the best way we can all work together to make America a Better Place." Or something like that.

And while we're at it, let's Google Bomb him. That Fat Fuck Karl Rove

Friday Random 10 

  1. Sugar Babe Wilson Diesel
  2. She's My Baby Traveling Wilburys
  3. Godnight Irene The Toy Dolls
  4. Impossible Beauty Nathan Haines
  5. Collect from Clark Kent Braid
  6. Anna (Go To Him) The Beatles
  7. All Women Are Bad The Cramps
  8. Happy Together The Turtles
  9. You Are My Sunshine Mississippi John Hurt
  10. I Can't Stand It The Velvet Underground
Here's a question for you: Is it Toy Dolls or The Toy Dolls? I've seen both forms on albums and I'm confused.

Friday Kid Blogging 


YW has been hogging the FKB lately, so here's a snap of YA on his way to school. This one was taken on YW's last day of First Grade, and Justice required that YA have his picture taken too. Note the backpack; YW takes a backpack to school so YA must have one too. He does actually carry something in it. Every day he takes Edward the Emu to school and then brings it home. I think it might have actually been read to the kids at least once.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Goodbye Marie 

One of my heroes died yesterday. My Aunt Marie succumbed to having her body finally wear out. She had a problem with her blood that takes 50 or so years to make your lungs give out. For several years she had to have ice-cold transfusions every week to try to keep her lungs going as long as possible. Literally the day after she picked out her own grave the doctors told her that they finally had a donor match for her rare blood type. She had to decide in less than an hour whether or not to have a double lung transplant that might kill her that day or to wait the week or two for her own lungs to finally totally fail. She decided to go for it and lived through the operation. At the time of her transplant, people with double-lung transplants had a life expectancy of no more than 5 years. She made it for (I think) 7 years. In that time she got to see her younger daughter get married and get to cuddle and play with 5 grandchildren. Complications from the medications she was taking gave her serious stress fractures and she was in constant pain. A year or so ago her kidneys started to fail and she was told to prepare herself, but again, at the last minute a donor match was made and she underwent a kidney transplant. Unfortunately the kidney never started to function and the fluid build-up caused her heart to stop. She was re-started, but never regained consciousness. Yesterday my uncle and cousins decided to let her go and had the life-support removed. The doctors said she would probably only last a few minutes after pulling the plug. Fighter that she was, she continued under her own steam for two hours before her body finally couldn't do it anymore.

I am the oldest cousin on both sides of my family in my generation. When I was in the throes of awkward puberty Marie was the first of my relatives that started treating me like an adult. When you're 14 it's amazingly cool to be able to tell dirty jokes with your aunt.

Goodbye Marie, I'm going to miss you.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

People Who Suck At Math 

The Chron has an article about how California is joining the Mega Millions Lottery. For the low, low price $1 you too can not win a lottery jackpot that may reach as much as $500,000,000. The odds of winning are 1 in 175,000,000. I will admit to playing the California Lotto from time to time, but at least in that game the I'll never ever ever win with with much better odds. Not being a highly paid Lottery Executive I am probably not qualified to have an opinion, but a lottery that paid out multiple, say, $1,000,000 (after taxes) prizes per week would probably make me play much more often. $1,000,000 would be a great prize. You'd have enough money to pay off any normal persons debts and set up a good nest egg or pay for a stupendous bender and then you could continue with your life. But since the Lottery is actually a tax on people who are bad at math, my idea could never fly.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Poor Arnold 

The Chron has an article about how our crappy governor has really low approval ratings and they've only gotten worse since he signed the proclamation calling for the special election. To which I say, "No kidding." I voted against the recall, but my understanding of the people that voted for it was that they were tired of Gray Davis spending all his time fund-raising and very little time doing his job. Contrast that with Arnold who spends all his time fund-raising and doesn't even seem to understand what his job is.

Arnold, if you're reading this I've got a hint for you. One of the big parts of your job is to work with the Legislature to accomplish the business of the state. If the Legislature happens to contain a majority of people from the other party, that means you have to scale back some of your goals and go for what's possible. You don't give a couple of speeches insulting the Legislators, complain that you can't get anything done and then ask the people to do your work for you. You are telling us that you don't know what you're doing; nobody likes that. Go back to Sacramento and start doing your job.

Monday, June 20, 2005


I enjoy checking my Site Meter stats. This blog being at approximately the very bottom of the blogerarchy, It doesn't take long to see where each and every one of my hits come from. The search engine hits are kind of fun. I commonly get hits for people searching for information about the type of camera I have (that would be the Kodak 7590, short review: get it. It's a pretty good point and shoot digicam with 10X optical zoom). But the Friday Random 10 posts I keep doing are poisoning Google something fierce, but only for one particular band. I keep getting hits for people interested in Salter Cane, which have been mentioned in my Random 10 list at least once. So, sorry searchers, but I have not fan-info or free downloads. The all-time best seach engine hit I've gotten has to be for "Horses having sex". I did have a post that mentioned horses and sex, but it was a discussion of sexual dimorphism in the animal world and the mating strategies pursued by animals in which you see such dimorphism. And then I tied it into Gay Marriage; I rock. But I don't have pictures of horses having sex. Sorry internets.

I just ran (for the first time) the Blogger spell checker on this post. The Blogger dictionary doesn't contain "blog" or "Google" or "Blogger".

Monday Cub-On Blogging 


Here's YW just before leaving on the Nature Hike portion of the Cub-On. The Boy Scout who led the hike found a lizard hiding under a log and let YW carry it around for a while. Eventually Clingy (for such was the name that YW bestowed upon the Blue Bellied Lizard) warmed up enough to get tired of the ride and left the group about half way through the hike.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Friday Kid Blogging; Last Day Of School Edition 


Here's YW on the first day of First Grade.


And here he is on today, the last day of First Grade.

Friday Random 10 

  1. Release Me Fingers Cut Megamachine
  2. The Fool On The Hill Paul McCartney
  3. Purple Haze Jimi Hendrix
  4. Yoshiko's Song Christine Madden And Dave Loo
  5. Atomic Blondie
  6. Wheat Kings The Tragically Hip
  7. Chemical Warfare Dead Kennedys
  8. S&M Airlines NoFX
  9. Move Over Janis Joplin
  10. Asleep At The Wheel v.Spy v.Spy

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Last Week of First Grade 

YW's last week of first grade is happening right now. I hope he's having enough fun. So far this week he's had a Pizza Party Lunch on Tuesday and went to the Circus last night. Today is the End Of The Year Party at school and then after school he's going to a friends house for a Birthday Party (this being California, they will be enjoying themselves in a hot tub). Then tomorrow he and I are jetting down toward Santa Cruz for another Cub On weekend campout. I don't recall that my last week of first grade was quite so jam packed with activities.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

The Circus! 

We just got back from the circus Circus. It's not a 3-ring circus. It's not a 2-ring circus. It's a 1-ring circus. It's the kind of circus that comes to towns of 40,000 people, sets up their tent in a field and puts on a show for a few days before moving on. In other words, it's a real circus. It wasn't world class circus-ing, but it was the most impressive show of physical prowess I've seen in person at such short range. It's fun being able to make eye-contact with the trapeze guy when he's accepting the applause of the crowd. YW was amazed and YA, when he wasn't examining the underside of the bleachers was pretty impressed as well. One cool thing was that the field where they had their tent is walking distance from Casa Hank so we didn't have to drive to the show.

Update:I've been contemplating on the Circus and generalized it to Hank's Theory of Live Entertainment:

It is better to go see a live performance where the performers are good and you are in a small enough venue that feel like you're part of the event than to go see a live performance where the performers are great but you're just one of thousands in attendance.
So to use last night's Circus as an example: some of the acrobatic events included the performers swinging out over the audience on ropes. If they had slipped it's entirely possible they would have landed in our laps. That makes it much more fun than (for the same $10 ticket price) being in the nose-bleed seats at the best Circus in the World. By the same measure Minor League baseball in a little stadium is way more fun than going to some monster arena and having the players look like ants they're so far away.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Yup, They're Evil 

So there I was making a casual swipe at Disney for being the Evil Empire and just to drive the point home they go and kill a four year old kid. Yeah, he was under the minimum height requirement for the ride, but whose fault is it that he got on the ride? The rat's, that's who.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Bonus Monday Berry Blogging 

There's proof for you. We really did go berry picking. YW is shown using his enormous powers of discrimination to select only finest berries. YA, is proudly exhibiting the berry that he managed to not eat. And yes, he is advertising for the Evil Empire with both a Mickey shirt and a Pooh hat.

Arnie's a Dink 

The Chron has an article this morning about how Arnie is almost certainly going to call a special election to put his initiatives before the voters. What an asshole. He's the Governor. He's the one person in the whole entire state of California that can make the Legislature contemplate on his desires. But, proving once again that Austrian Immigrants who worm their way into positions of authority tend not to appreciate the way in which Democracy actually works, he doesn't feel like doing his actual job and negotiating with another branch of government to accomplish his goals. He'd rather toss some crappy yes/no initiatives out there and hope the few voters that actually turn out are entertained enough by his dumbass one-liners to vote his half-baked ideas into the State Constitution.

This reinforces in me the belief that no matter how good an idea any intiaitive might seem, in this day and age you should always vote NO on every initiative. Voting YES just encourages them to do it again. Let the Governor and the Legislature do the jobs we elected them to do.

Sunday, June 12, 2005


We went Ollalieberry picking today. There are a couple of U-Pick berry farms on the coast near Pescadero and it's the height of Ollalieberry season (they are some kind of blackberry, as far as I can tell). We got enough that I should be able to make a couple of batches (call it 8 pints) of jam and a pie. But having spent about an hour and a half doing Migrant Farmworker labour, I just have to wonder if the people convinced that Illegal Aliens are taking jobs away from Hardworking Americans spend much time picking their own produce. It was fun for a while in the cool of the morning; but as a Career, not so good.

Update: 8 pints? Did I say 8 pints? No, no no. I made 15 pints yesterday and a pie. After work tonight I'll make 10 more pints and still have enough to freeze enough to make 2 more pies. It's the Land of Infinite Ollalieberries

Friday, June 10, 2005

Friday Random 10 

  1. Sugar Mama Bonnie Raitt
  2. Type O Negative Black Sabbath
  3. Fireflies Patti Smith
  4. Belong R.E.M.
  5. For Now Béla Fleck & The Flecktone
  6. I Can Love You Like That John Michaeel Montgomery
  7. Toccata In Dm The Toy Dolls
  8. Summertime Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong
  9. Aye Aye Aye Santana
  10. I Can't Make You Love Me Bonnie Raitt

Friday Kid Blogging 

Two pictures for the price of one!


Yesterday, YW had both a field trip to the Bay Area Discovery Museum and his Cub Scout den meeting. I elected to be one the parent helpers on the field trip. It was pretty fun in a chaotic kids running everywhere kind of way. I, as a Proud Honda Civic Driver, could only take one extra kid in my car. But he was a funny guy. He was absolutely convinced he knew how to get from Pacifica to the Golden Gate Bridge. "Okay go straight. Now turn left. Now! You missed it." Self esteem issues do not plague this kid. The Cub Scout meeting included Feats of Physcial Ability, YW is demonstrating his ability to jump.


YA was given permission, after having several books read to him, to read a couple more books before going to sleep. Having memorized What Makes a Rainbow and Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See? he was quite entertained right up to the moment he lost conciousness.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Reverse MacArthur 

During the Big War, General Douglas MacArthur commanded a mixed army of American and Commonwealth (to a first approximation all Australian) troops. MacArthur was a big fan of issuing Press Releases announcing the latest victory of the troops under his command. But there was a special secret code he used in his press releases. If American troops did something good, the Press Release would brag about the victory of "American soldiers". If Americans and Australians working together won a victory, the Press release would tell the tale of victory of "American soldiers". If Australians did all the work to win a battle, the Press Release would talk about how "American and Allied soldiers" had won a victory.

So, Internets, did you figure out the code? That's right, Americans are always mentioned, and Australians are relegated to Allies and only get a mention when they do all the work.

So where does the "Reverse MacArthur" title come from? When ever I see a News Item about military operations in Iraq it's almost always about how "Iraqi and American troops" are conducting some kind of asswhipping. I suspect "Iraqi and American troops" means American troops. If we ever see a story about how "Iraqi troops" did something that will mean that Iraqi troops managed to at least do part of the heavy lifting along with the Americans.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

That's the problem 

The Chron has an article about how even thought the Supremes said that Medical Marijuana Laws passed by the States can't shield people from the Long Arm of the The Law, that it most likely won't lead to an increase in drug busts.
"The reality is, we don't have the time or resources to do anything other than going after large-scale traffickers and large-scale growers," said McGregor Scott, the U.S. attorney for the state's eastern district in Sacramento. "We have had cases where there have been claims of medical marijuana, but they involved hundreds and hundreds of plants -- not somebody growing a couple plants in their back yard."
And that, Internets, is the problem. We are once again in the worst of all possible worlds. There is a law on the books that should get enforced so people can see Grannies with cancer doing Perp Walks and maybe a bit of sanity could get injected into the system. Instead we get a really bad law that will be used at the discression of Roberto Gonzales and his minions to harass those they deem to be against America.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Tardy Friday Kid Blogging 

YW got invited to a Birthday Party at the Daly City Party Playhouse on Saturday. As far as I could determine, this is a franchise operation for throwing Birthday Parties. The place was in a light-industrial area. Upon entrance you were told the rules and then turned loose on the biggest kid-Habitrail (like the play structures you find at some fast food emporiums) I've ever seen. It had at least three slides, a ball-pit, a bouncer, and numerous intestines to worm your way through. And parents were allowed in it too. What fun. After an hour of wildness we adjourned to a rather bleak room with tables where we ate pizza and cake. Weeeee!

Friday, June 03, 2005

Friday Random 10 

  1. Momentum The Earthmen
  2. Durango 95 The Ramones
  3. Love You Too The Beatles
  4. The Hero Dies The Ataris
  5. Sunburn ATB
  6. Papercut Linkin Park
  7. MLK U2
  8. Speaking Confidentially Cowboy Junkies
  9. Yesterdays Marianne Faithfull
  10. Love Is Like A Cigarette k.d. lang

It's Official, We're Really Losing 


The Chron has an article today about a typical day for a tank crew in Iraq. They spend the day hanging out looking for booby traps and rousting motorists.

Rauch's job, and that of his two crew members aboard the 70-ton M1A Abrams, is to protect the bridge on the outskirts of this Sunni town, a key link on the main route for civilian and U.S. military traffic from the southern port city of Basra to the border with Turkey in the north.
So, Internets, I can hear you asking, "Hank, just how does this mean we're really losing?" Nothing could be simpler, Internets. Count the number of people mentioned, there's Spc Rauch and his two crew members. The Abrams tank is meant to have a 4 man crew. There's the commander, the driver, the gunner, and the loader. Now technology allows for the replacement of the loader with an automated loader. In fact, some types of American Self Propelled Artillery have just such a mechanism and the later Soviet model tanks have one too. But the designers of the Abrams left the human loader in the tank on purpose. A tank requires a lot of Preventative Maintenance; three men have much more trouble performing that maitenance than four. So the Abrams has human loader to make keeping the tank running a more reasonable task. But Spc Rauch (who's the gunner) appears to be doing his own loading. The Army is so strapped for warm bodies that we're sending tanks out on patrol without complete crews. We're losing.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Talk About Handy 

One of the "advantages" of being able to work from home is that if I'm having trouble sleeping and I'm fretting about some work thing, I can get up and work on it for a while. I'm kind of beat this morning but I did get in a solid hour and half on my database project very very early this morning.

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