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Wednesday, November 30, 2005


Inspired by a post over at Laid Off Dad, I will now relate the story of how YW didn't get baptized.

YW was born in Minnesota, my ancestral homeland. This meant we took him out to see my Grandmother quite a few times before we moved back to California. At one of the early visits the following conversation occurred:

Granny - Have you had YW baptized?
H - No.
G - Do you know that you are endangering his immortal soul?
H - Well when he's old enough he can decide for himself if he wants to be baptized.

What I thought, but didn't say (since I didn't want Granny to drop dead on the spot) was, "Any God that would send a baby to Hell because the baby isn't baptized is not the sort of God whose ass I wish to kiss."

Monday, November 28, 2005

Happy Violation Day! 

Being a Dad of a certain age (that would be greater than 40), going to the doctor for a physical is a bit more exciting than it used to be. "OK, roll over on your side... pressure... pressure... there, all done." At least this time I knew what to expect. Way back when Hank was just a Hankling (14 to be exact), I had an inflamed appendix. Said appendix needed to come out. And it was so, but one of the preliminaries to the whole get-cut-open-and-have-part-of-your-innards-removed process is a rectal exam. I was a pretty naive 14 year old and said exam was initiated without much explanation. It was most surprising.

And yay for me, I am, it seems, in reasonable health. Pending of course the results of the blood work.

PS - the Blogger spell-checker wanted to replace 'rectal' with 'recital'.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

It's a Penguin! 

Today we trekked down to one of the local Malls (Hillsdale in Burlingame for those of you following along at home). We wandered, we had lunch, we did not buy anything. While there we encountered the Have Your Picture Taken With Santa booth. Next to it was a young man with an unenviable job. He was making balloon animals for anyone who wanted one (paid by the Mall, I assume as there was no charge and he wouldn't accept tips). He was quite talented, but in order to keep the queue from reaching infinite length, he was working at super high speed. He was flushed, his hands were shaking. But he did manage to have a pleasant chat with each child as he was making their flower, motorcycle, flower, whatever. YA elected to have a penguin.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Zombies! Zombies! Aieeeeeee! 

So I get my connection to the Internets from SBC (or as they want to be called now, ATT) and my e-mail from the affiliated Yahoo. Now usually very little spam makes it to my e-mail program. I guess the combo of SBC/ATT and Yahoo are able to find the blatently bad stuff and get rid of it before it ever reaches me. But the last few days either there is some monster evil zombie network that recently came online that is trying to take over my computer (it's a Mac, eat shit Windows-zombie scum!) or SBC/ATT and Yahoo have eased the rules on their big filters. I've been getting a several your-email-bounced-please-open-the-enclosed-zip-file messages per hour since late last week.

It Wasn't Me 

Michael Bérubé has called on all of Blogtopia (Y!SITP!) to reveal whether or not they are the source of Bob Woodward's information on the work habits of Valerie Wilson (nee Plame). Because I am interested in the furthering of Justice and the elucidation of Truth, let me here state that it was not me. At the time I was busy trying to Cure Cancer and make the world a Better Place through my efforts at a medium sized Biotech company. (Have heard the definition of a Biotech company? It's a pharmaceutical company with no products).

Friday, November 18, 2005

Friday Kid Blogging 


Wow. Look at me, I remember to do FRT and FKB on Friday itself. I am so impressed with me.

Last weekend the boys attended a Birthday Party at our local Bowling Emporium. There was cake. And the smearing thereof.

Friday Random 10 

  1. Mommy's Little Monster Social Distortion
  2. Born To Lose Social Distortion
  3. Mother And Child Reunion Paul Simon
  4. Overture To "Candide": Allegro molto con brio Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, Leonard Bernstein
  5. Working Undercover For The Man They Might Be Giants
  6. Miracle To Me The Black Crowes
  7. Tiger Fight Disney The Jungle Book
  8. All Night Long Jerry Lee Lewis
  9. The Three Drovers Sydney Philharmonia Motet Choir, Antony Walker
  10. Jesus Took Possession Over Judgement Day Chris Wilson

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Pray for snow 


Last summer the Nuclear Family took a vacation trip up to Lake Tahoe. One of the things you can do if you're up at the North end of the lake is a self-guided float down the first 4 miles of the Mighty Truckee River (which, I assume you know, has Lake Tahoe as its head-waters). This stretch of river is so placid that they will let you take a 3 year old in the boat. That being said the water does from time to time get moving fast enough to be moderately exciting.

Digression: I met MLWN around Christmas time the winter after my last summer of guiding. She had been rafting before, but we had never before been in the same boat.
As we were riding the bus back to the put-in MLWN said, "Why don't we own one of those?" Well that seemed like a very good question, so since September I've been browsing the appropriate section of eBay (previous reconnaissance had shown that whitewater companies divest themselves of surplus boats in the fall). After a couple of false starts I finally had the high bid on a reasonable boat and now I'm the proud owner of a 13' Riken Pioneer. Woot! Now all I need is all the equipment that goes along with the rubber itself: paddles, PFDs, a hand-pump, various ropes, etc.

Your task, internets, is to pray for a good snow pack in the Sierras this winter so Hank and Family can have big fun floating down Northern California's scenic rivers next summer. Thanks.


And don't forget to be careful when you're out on the water.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

It's a bunch of small worlds 

Over the weekend MLWN and I had 3 almost-but-not-quite small world encounters.
  1. The mother of one of YW's classmates went to UCSB at the same time I did, but we had never encountered one another while at school.
  2. The mother of one of the boys on YW's soccer team was a whitewater guide on the American River (working for ARTA) at the same time I was guiding on that river while working for OARS, but we never met while we were Bitchen Whitewater Guides.
  3. The father of that same kid attended a short-lived military-themed prep school in Santa Barbara at the same time as the high school version of MLWN was hanging out with guys who went to said school, but they had never met at the time.
All in all, not too profound, but kind of groovy.

For a real small world story, I'll give you this.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Monday End of the Season Soccer Blogging 

Saturday was YW's last soccer game of the season. Since we weren't keeping score we have no need to note that the Stingers got shelled something like 4-nil. But it was a nicely muddy field so everybody got really dirty.


And since it was the last game of the season we had to have the End of the Season Pizza Party at a local pizza establishment. And as the coach it was obviously my duty to make a soccer ball cake. This task was made easier by the BettyCrockerBakeAndFill cake pan system being a part of our kitchen establishment (and listening to YW say it, it is one long word). For months whenever an ad for BKBnF would come on the TV (you have to watch the right channels for that to happen. Luckily we watch a lot of Nickolodeon and Cartoon Network), YW would write the 800 number down on a piece of paper and tell me that I absolutely had to call and order that fabulous product. Finally, around his Birthday I gave in. One of the pans that comes with the BKBnF cake pan system is a hemisphere which allows the cook (that would be me) to make cakes that look like a ball (well, part of a ball anyway).

Gameboys are like beating off 

So YW went on his first sleep-over on Saturday. A subset of the boys invited to a Sunday Birthday Party were invited to sleep over at the Birthday Boy's house on Saturday night. It was going to be huge fun. And YW reported it as being fun. Until, that is, last night, when it came out that the other boys had brought their Gameboys and there was a distinct lack of sharing with YW who not only didn't bring one, he doesn't even own one. There were tears. Reading between the lines of what he said, I think the situation lies somewhere between YW not asking for a turn to play a game and the other boys telling him to piss off when he asked for a turn. I think there might have been a couple of requests after nobody spontaneously offered to let him play.

But be that as it may, on further reflection it seems to me that playing a Gameboy (or PSP or whatever) is like masturbating. It's kind of fun, it doesn't hurt anyone else, but you really shouldn't do it in a roomful of people. And a whole bunch of people playing their Gameboys in the same room is just a asking for a mess.

And yes, we're going to cave. He'll probably get one for Christmas. But there will be limited opportunities to play it and for damn sure he won't be taking to over to friends' houses when he's supposed to be interacting with other humans.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Thursday Kid Blogging 


I've been slacking off on FKB lately and I'm unlikely to get to it tomorrow, what with it being Armistice Day and all, so here it is a day early.

Ever since YW could walk I've thought it would be cool to dress him up as a Jawa. He's finally enough into Star Wars for the idea to have appealed to him. And, naturally, if YW is being a Jawa, YA had to be a Jawa too. The robes were made by our neighbor who is the Queen of the Sewing Room. I made the R2D2-blasting guns out of a couple dollars of PVC pipe and fittings and some black spray paint. The only thing I wasn't able to come up with were glowing eyes. But they still looked pretty cool.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Did you vote? 

I'm hoping that all my California-residing readers (both of you), have gone out and voted. And if not, will do so before the polls close. And if I may be so bold, may I suggest following Hank's Initiative Voting Algorithm? If you are new to this site, or don't remember, it can be most easily stated as: Always Vote No.

Friday, November 04, 2005

YW, it's time to go! 

Time for a daddy post on what is supposed to be at least a bit of a daddy blog.

Getting YW out the door for school in the morning has been a bit of a challenge lately. He likes to get out of bed and then lie down on the couch until the threat level has reached a high enough pitch to get him moving to the breakfast table or to his room to pick out his clothes. Monday was particularly stressful for everyone involved. There were tears and lamentations.

When I picked him up on Monday I asked if he liked being yelled at in the morning. In his opinion it was not the best of all possible worlds. I informed him that I didn't like yelling at him myself. Then I told him my new plan:

The next day (and all school days after that) I planned to wake him up at his regular time. I would then inform him of the time remaining before departure. At intervals I would tell him of the time remaining. At departure time he goes to the car. If he wanted to lie on the couch and go to school with no breakfast and wearing his pajamas that was just fine with me. The thrust of the plan being that he is in charge of himself and that I didn't want to yell in the morning anymore.
He got all big-eyed at the thought of going to school in his pajamas (or naked, I mentioned that possibility as well). We've have executed this plan every day for the remainder of the week and it has worked like a charm. He's been ready to go: fast broken, dressed, teeth brushed, backpack packed at least 15 minutes before departure time every day. I like the new morning routine a lot. But in the back of my mind I think that eventually he's going to backslide and I'll have to pull the trigger on heading out to the car in whatever state he happens to be.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

It's Started 

The Chron had an article about a soldier going on trial for fragging a couple of officers. For those of you not in the know, fragging means the not-officially-sanctioned killing of officers by enlisted men. It gained popularity in Vietnam where the men in the ranks didn't appreciate being led by incompetents who wouldn't learn. After some undefined period of time an officer who was viewed as more dangerous than the enemy was likely to be the recipient of a grenade in his tent or (oops!) shot during a fire fight. So in this weeks demonstration that the current upleasantness is at least as bad as Vietnam, the fragging has begun. The article states that the man had a vendetta against one of the officers he (allegedly) killed. Now maybe it's just a run of the mill homicide, but vendetta is an awfully broad word.

Suspenders And Belt 

The Chron has been running a multi-day article on people jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge and what, if anything, should be done about it. Back in the mists of time, the original design of the bridge had a 5'6" barrier along the pedestrian walkway and there were plans for making sure that people were discouraged from jumping. But during the run-up to building the bridge the height of the railing was lowered to 4' and the high-intensity monitoring of the foot-borne traffic was cut back. So we currently have an average of at least one person a week going off the bridge.

The argument about making it harder to jump comes down to two points of view

  1. People who want to die are going to find some way to off themselves, so why bother retrofitting the bridge. Besides it's so pretty and a suicide barrier would just ruin the aesthetic. The more subtle version of this argument is that if you go off the bridge you are must less likely to hurt a bystander than if you go off a building or throw yourself into traffic.
  2. We're talking about human beings here. Humans that we should, perhaps, try to help. If we build some sort of barrier or net maybe we can get these people treatment and they won't want to die anymore. The subtle version of this argument is that, according to the first article in the series, in the population of would-be jumpers who were talked out of jumping less than 10% go on to find some other way to shuffle off this mortal coil.
Now I personally fall into camp number two. Letting people die because you don't want to alter the view is fucked up. But that's not why I'm writing this post.

In today's article they mentioned a woman who jumped off the bridge, gun in hand and shot herself in the head on the way down. Now that's making sure.

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