May 10, 2008

The Spam Has Won

I give up. The only thing I do around here lately is clean up the mess, and it's just not worth my time anymore.

See you in your comments.

Posted by Ted at 08:44 PM | Comments (1257) | TrackBack

May 04, 2008

Buy Me Some Peanuts And... What the Hell?!?!?!

Minor league baseballs teams do some wacky things for promotion nights, and almost anything goes as long as it draws a crowd. Seldom though, does the concession menu enter into the equation.

The Sioux Falls Canaries and Dakota Provisions are teaming up this summer to bring Fowl Balls to concession stands at the Birdcage. The venture makes Sioux Falls Stadium the first sports venue in the country to offer their fans a chance to enjoy turkey testicles.

Yep. Deep fried turkey testicles. Offered with a variety of dipping sauces. The local poultry processor has some 32,000 extra Tom-bits left over at the end of each day, and someone became a marketing legend by convincing folks who should know better that nothing says baseball quite like a piping hot basket of Fowl Balls.

I wouldn't eat the fries at that stadium either.

Don't even mention corn dogs.

Posted by Ted at 06:02 PM | Comments (371) | TrackBack

May 03, 2008

Home Sweet Home

Hello all. Got home last Sunday morning (early AM). Been berry berry busy. All work-stuff that was supposed to get done by "backups" didn't. Most did, but still spent a day catching up.

On the home front, our dishwasher went kaput while we were gone. Of course, the kids didn't notice, so an inch of dirty water sat in the bottom and went rancid. Ick. Then Liz's laptop went kaput too. She's out right now, getting it taken care of. Thank heavens for our "stimulus" check.

That was sarcasm, by the way. I refuse to say "thank you" to someone who magnanimously decides to give me back some of my own money.

Arizona was beautiful, we fell in love with the place. The vacation will get it's own separate post, maybe tonight.

Gotta run. Things to do.

Posted by Ted at 01:02 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

April 16, 2008

Cue John Denver

Liz and I are headed to Arizona for a week to visit my Dad. We've been busy getting ready for the trip, plus other big happenings that I'll talk about when we get home. I really doubt they have more than an email connection, so you'll probably miss me long time.

Posted by Ted at 06:11 PM | Comments (363) | TrackBack

April 13, 2008

First Game of the Season (for us)

We went and saw our first Potomac Nationals game of the season last night. The team (single A minor league) has a lot of familiar names from last year, and they've started off on a hot streak. As for the game, the P-Nats - I *still* hate that nickname - spotted the Kinston Indians seven runs in the first five innings before roaring back to tie it up by the eighth. The P-Nats won it in the bottom of the 11th.

We didn't see that though, because a cold front moved through the area and it got very chilly and windy. We lasted through the 10th, then went to the car, figuring we'd watch the fireworks from the parking lot. Twenty minutes later, another wave of folks started coming out, so we figured they went another scoreless inning and we left. By the time we got home, the P-Nats had won.

I can't even give a report on this year's fireworks show. Someone told us that there was a curfew after which the fireworks couldn't be done, which makes sense, but the time they remembered sounded much too early for a Saturday night. I dunno.

We also did some talking to the stadium management last night about season tickets and reserved seating. They're willing to allow Liz to park her electric scooter someplace convenient (for her) in order to have access to the field-level box seats. I have never seen the staff *not* go out of their way to help someone at the stadium. They are the standard by which I measure other customer service.

Liz also got the scoop on the new stadium. Our county won't chip in on the funding because of current budget shortfalls. Imagine that, a little fiscal responsibility from our elected officials! So the current plan is to sell the naming rights to the new stadium and using that money combined with what the team has already committed to build the new place. It'll be located right behind where first base is now, and be partially dug into the ground, amphitheater style, like the Frederick Keys stadium is. If they sell the rights quickly (the process of looking for a sponsor has begun) or make a bunch of money for it, they may have the stadium ready for next season, but they're realistically planning for a 2010 opening.

So there you have it - first game of the season. As expected, most prices went up a quarter or fifty cents this year. Parking is now four bucks, bleacher seats are eight. Still a bargain.

Who's up for a Saturday blogmeet at the game?

Posted by Ted at 08:26 AM | Comments (784) | TrackBack

April 12, 2008

Hoo-ahh!

My wife Liz got this in her email.

Two California Highway Patrol Officers were conducting speeding enforcement on I-15, just north of the Marine Corps Air Station at Miramar. One of the officers was using a hand held radar device to check speeding vehicles approaching the crest of a hill.

The officers were suddenly surprised when the radar gun began reading 300 miles per hour. The officer attempted to reset the radar gun, but it would not reset and then turned off.

Just then a deafening roar over the treetops revealed that the radar had in fact locked on to a USMC F/A-18 Hornet which was engaged in a low flying exercise near the location.

Back at the CHP Headquarters the Patrol Captain fired off a complaint to the USMC Base Commander. The reply came back in true USMC style:

Thank you for your letter. We can now complete the file on this incident.

You may be interested to know that the tactical computer in the Hornet had detected the presence of, and subsequently locked on to, your hostile radar equipment and automatically sent a jamming signal back to it, which is why it shut down.

Furthermore, an Air-to-Ground missile aboard the fully armed aircraft had also automatically locked on to your equipment location.

Fortunately, the Marine Pilot flying the Hornet recognized the situation for what it was, quickly responded to the missile system alert status and was able to override the automated defense system before the missile was launched to destroy the host ile radar position.

The pilot also suggests you cover your mouths when cussing at them, since the video systems on these jets are very high tech. Sergeant Johnson, the officer holding the radar gun, should get his dentist to check his left rear molar. It appears the filling is loose. Also, the snap is broken on his holster.

Thank you for your concern. Semper Fi.

Undoubtedly pure BS, but still funny.

Posted by Ted at 09:31 AM | Comments (1899) | TrackBack

April 11, 2008

Bulk Trash Pickup

One of our "goals" we decided this past winter was to simplify and get rid of the vast amounts of crap we've accumulated over the years. To this end I've gone through about a quarter of the basement, hauling up various crates o' stuff for Liz to go through and decide whether or not it can be tossed. We've given the garbage guys a real workout some weeks.

Tomorrow is bulk trash pickup day. Instead of loading big crap into the truck and hauling it to the dump, they come to us. All you need to do is to haul it to the curb and it's gone. I spent a couple of hours going through the backyard, being ruthless about what was to be kept. When my son got home from work, we hauled it all out front, including an old couch. That wreck of a piece of furniture should've gone out long ago, but I didn't want to leave it out in the weather all winter. Tomorrow, finally, it's buh-bye.

The weather is gorgeous right now, so I started the front yardwork. I'll finish that up tomorrow morning, and lay out the plan for the new front flower bed. Right now, it's a simple rectangle running along the front picket fence, lined with brick. What I want to do is sweep a curve out to run about halfway up the side fence. We'd have about 1/4 less grass but a much larger area for flowers. I've got the bricks already, so it's a matter of getting the mortar, doing some digging and getting things planted. It won't happen tomorrow but I can at least lay it out and see what it'll look like in reality and not just in my head.

Last year's work on the side "perennial" flower bed is looking good too. Things are coming up green and fast, and it looks like even the couple of annuals we had planted as filler have re-seeded themselves.

One funny thing is that we only had two daffodils come up this spring. I know for a fact that we should have seen forty or more, but instead there are only two, and they're scrawny little things that didn't even bud. I finally remembered that I'd dug up all the bulbs last year and was supposed to replant, but forgot. Not that it mattered, because I couldn't find the damn things. I was certain that I'd bagged them up into a brown paper bag and tossed them in the coolness under the basement steps, because that's what you do. You're also supposed to toss them in the freezer for a week before planting to simulate winter, but damned if I could find them again.

I now recall that I had thrown all the bulbs into an enormous planter last summer, covered them with dirt to protect them and dragged it into the backyard. Now, in the middle of my trashy looking backyard, there's a gorgeous display of daffodils just bursting out of this planter. Hopefully this fall I'll remember to put them back out front where they belong.

Tomorrow evening it's minor league baseball time! Our first game of the season, and I'm looking forward to the fireworks show afterwards.

Life is good if you can appreciate the little things. Enjoy your weekend!

Posted by Ted at 08:09 PM | Comments (726) | TrackBack

April 10, 2008

Feeling Poorly

I've been fighting some sort of stomach bug since last Sunday. I called in Monday but thanks to a diet of turkey, crackers and olives (nice and bland) I was able to go to work Tuesday and Wednesday. Last night I figured it was safe to eat real food again, and besides, I wanted something hot.

Bad move, in retrospect.

Since I was up last night (translation: most of the night), I watched some movies.

Reviews a-coming.

Posted by Ted at 09:00 AM | Comments (433) | TrackBack

April 07, 2008

1-3 Is Only Good In Baseball

Well, our efforts to find Ozzie a girlfriend have ended in failure. Again. You may recall that our first attempt was with a beautiful doe named Butterscotch. She was a bit too aggressive for Oz and they wound up fighting pretty much right off the bat. On the plus side, after we took Butterscotch back to the rescue she has since been adopted out. She was a wonderful and affectionate girl, just not a good match for our little basket-case named Ozzie.

Now, we have another little sweetie named Midnight Louise, Midnight for short. Not nearly as aggressive as Butterscotch, but she definitely has her limits. Several of our rabbits have nipped me as a warning, just letting me feel their teeth (nipping during treat time is another matter, that's just getting overexcited and mistaking a fingertip for another piece of papaya). Midnight is the first rabbit we've had to actually bite and leave a mark - a tiny little paper cut-like slice on the meaty part of my palm at the base of the thumb. I thought it *was* an old paper cut, until it started bleeding a little. It was just the once, and as we got used to each other her little warning displays toned down considerably.

But a few days ago her and Ozzie got into it. Fur was flying, but no blood was shed (which happens surprisingly often between "cute little bunnies"). Liz got them separated, but it was too late. I think I've said it before, that bunnies hold grudges, and these two won't tolerate the other for the foreseeable future.

So Midnight goes back to the rescue. She'll be fine, because she's a dream to take care of, and the *only* thing wrong with her is her inability to deal with Ozzie. Since the vast majority of rabbit-keeping homes in the world don't have Ozzie living in them, she'll make someone (else) very happy.

I think we're done trying. There's another option at the rescue, but we only have room for two rabbit cages, so the ladies have been staying in Ozzie's cage while he lives in a pen on the floor in Liz's sewing room. Liz wants her space back, so the pen goes away and Oz goes back into his cage. As odd as it sounds, Ozzie has become more affectionate towards the people (and dog) since we've been trying to pair him up. This whole exercise originally started because he was acting lonely, but it seems that he's decided that he prefers his humans to another rabbit.

Posted by Ted at 08:02 AM | Comments (18) | TrackBack

March 14, 2008

ROFLMAO

In order to stay anonymous, Spitzer used his good friend's name whenever he hired hookers!

Whatta pal.

Posted by Ted at 10:46 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

March 12, 2008

Coincidence? I Think Not

Update: Link added.

Since the beginning of the school year, over 600 students have left the Prince William County school system. Oops, that's not quite correct. Over 600 students have left the "English for Speakers of Other Languages" classes in the Prince William County school system. I haven't heard specific numbers, but apparently a significant percentage of them have dropped since March 3rd, which happens to coincide with the start of our tough new anti-illegal immigration laws.

Doomsayers have been pointing out that the county spent big bucks to train all law enforcement personnel in immigration procedures. Looks to me that we're going to make that up fairly quickly via the schools. Smaller class sizes, fewer teachers needed, less new construction, etc.

I'd be really curious to see figures about the local hospital emergency rooms.

Posted by Ted at 05:06 AM | Comments (169) | TrackBack

March 07, 2008

Yeah, Like You Never Got the Words Wrong

Get it up!
Get it on!
Get off!
Rawhide!

Posted by Ted at 07:16 PM | Comments (1)

March 05, 2008

Synergistic

I find it amusing that the Democrat race can be summed up as:

She Who Must Not Be Named vs. He Who Must Not Be Middle-Named.

Posted by Ted at 06:10 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

February 24, 2008

Handy Hint

A toaster works ever so much faster if it's plugged in.

Posted by Ted at 07:36 PM | Comments (60) | TrackBack

February 23, 2008

It's Not You

I just haven't had the time, energy or inspiration lately to post much.

Posted by Ted at 06:37 PM | Comments (19) | TrackBack

February 22, 2008

You Learn Something New Every Day

In oriental art, you can tell which country a dragon figure is from by counting the number of toes. A dragon with five toes is Chinese, four toes is Korean and three is Japanese. All three countries have similar legends explaining why this is so and thus why dragons originated in their country.

Posted by Ted at 06:06 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

February 15, 2008

I Blame Tex Avery

You remember those cartoons where a character lights a match in a pitch dark space, and by the flickering light you see that he's in the middle of a room full of dynamite? And he gets that "oh shit" look just before *KABLOOIE!!!*

After the smoke clears, he's standing there, charred and smoking, eyes wide open, wondering just what the hell happened.

Today at work, I lit the match.

All is well, but I was shellshocked for a couple of hours.

Posted by Ted at 07:41 PM | Comments (22) | TrackBack

February 03, 2008

Super Shnooper

I have zero interest in the Super Bowl this year. to the point that I'm going to watch a movie instead. I've been in the mood for Mystery Men, and I'll admit that I've had the hots for Janeane Garofalo for years. Yes, I understand that she's a far-left leaning whackjob, but there are ways to keep her quiet in bed.

Misogynistic? Only if I refuse to reciprocate.

Posted by Ted at 06:41 PM | Comments (76) | TrackBack

February 02, 2008

Unconditional Love Shouldn't Have To Be Moist

I'm sitting on the sleeper couch upstairs with a blanket over my legs, and the dog has been cuddled up next to me all morning. He knows I'm not feeling well*, and he's very empathic, so he's doing what he can to make me feel better. A few minutes ago he crawled out from under the blanket, stretched and walked out, presumably to go curl up next to Liz in bed. He left an enormous drool spot on the cushion next to me, and if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go make sure the little dear isn't sleeping on my pillow.

*Don't you love how I've managed to work in the fact that I'm sick into every post today? Whiny little baby? Moi?

Posted by Ted at 08:10 AM | Comments (266) | TrackBack

Gargling With Ground Glass

That's what my throat feels like. We've got something running through the office, and it's my turn to have my ass kicked (actually, there were five of us out at least one day last week). Fever, sore throat, aches - oh yeah, all the classic flu symptoms. I haven't posted much because I've been feeling so rotten that all I would be doing is pissing and moaning. That's fun once in a while, but you don't want to read a bunch of that, and I don't want to write like that.

When I come up with something pleasant, I'll post it. Ha, I almost said 'worthwhile' instead of 'pleasant'! As if...

Posted by Ted at 02:19 AM | Comments (34) | TrackBack

January 22, 2008

The Official Rocket Jones Guide to Survival During the Current Stock Market Troubles

Buy.

* Remember the old adage: buy low, sell high. Right now, prices are going down. You can afford more, and when the value increases, so will the return on your investments. And in the long run, the market always goes higher.

** I am not a professional financial analyst. I don't play one on TV. I didn't even sleep in a Holiday Inn last night.

Posted by Ted at 05:45 AM | Comments (16) | TrackBack

Plan B is to Stop Digging

If you get pulled over for speeding by a cop, you can try to talk him out of a ticket. But if he looks in your back seat and sees this, you might as well not even try.

Posted by Ted at 05:12 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

January 20, 2008

New Lady in the House

Her name is Butterscotch, and she's a one year old doe (picture to come later). We're fostering her for now, but our single rabbit Ozzie has been showing signs of loneliness lately, so we've decided to try to pair them up. It doesn't always work, and it doesn't always go as smoothly as it did with our other pair, Fred and Java, but we'll give this a shot and if it doesn't work out, then we have other young ladies to try.

The rabbit rescue we work with is Bunny Lu. Give 'em a visit and hit their donation jar if you feel so inclined.

Posted by Ted at 10:05 AM | Comments (59) | TrackBack

New Banner in the Rotation

But rather than making you refresh repeatedly to find it and driving up my site stats and inflating my ego, I'll just post it here too.

RJBoxBanner.jpg

I've got another one in mind, but it involves some tricky photography and I just haven't felt ambitious enough to take it on.

By the way, there are now 42 Rocket Jones banners, plus three special occasion ones that I trot out for Christmas, Halloween and my birthday. Thanks again to all the folks who sent entries into the banner contest. If you like a banner, odds are good that it wasn't my work.

Posted by Ted at 09:45 AM | Comments (70) | TrackBack

January 18, 2008

Whoa, Dude

I was just sitting here thinking about something and my eyes kinda went out of focus. The retro-style background on Rocket Jones works just like one of those magic eye pictures and if you're looking at it the right way, it goes 3-D!

Would you believe that I did that on purpose?

Posted by Ted at 06:05 AM | Comments (24) | TrackBack

January 11, 2008

Proof Positive

God is male. We know this because boobs come in pairs.

Posted by Ted at 04:48 PM | Comments (415) | TrackBack

January 05, 2008

Great Name

The Mets just signed outfielder Angel Pagan.

Posted by Ted at 06:34 PM | Comments (444) | TrackBack

January 03, 2008

Happy Birthday Radar O'Reilly!

Something or other is happening in Iowa today, and that's the only thing I can think of that I might possibly care about.

Posted by Ted at 04:54 PM | Comments (134) | TrackBack

January 02, 2008

Thai Food

Mookie adores it, so she found a place nearby that got rave reviews and treated me to dinner. She says the food there was really, really good.

I tried several things, but I discovered that I just don't like Thai food.

Posted by Ted at 07:16 PM | Comments (44) | TrackBack

January 01, 2008

Thump... Thump... Thump....

I've mentioned before that Ozzie, one of our house rabbits, "thumps" with his back legs when he's not happy about something. He's thumping away right now in his cage.

Liz and daughter Robyn are in Florida to visit Mom and Dad. Apparently Ozzie is feeling neglected because nobody is in the sewing room with him. I put the stereo on in there, but he's used to Liz sitting in there where he can see her.

This is going to get old real quick.

Posted by Ted at 07:50 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

Happy New Year!

As promised yesterday, here's what you can expect from Rocket Jones for the next year (or eternity).

BeatDeadHorse.gif

This one amuses me greatly, boys and girls. Expect to see it again.

Posted by Ted at 10:43 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

December 31, 2007

Now Here's Someone Looking Forward to Dinner!

Much like you loyal Rocket Jones stalkers readers and commenters (not always the same to my chagrin), who return regularly to view my little corner of this grand trainwreck that Al Gore wrought.

Enjoy. I do believe that she will.
yummyham.jpg
Oh yes, to a frightening degree, she will be enjoying it.

And tomorrow, a visual depiction on what to expect from the 2008 version of Rocket Jones!

Posted by Ted at 11:00 AM | Comments (15) | TrackBack

December 28, 2007

Ted's Booty

I'm talking loot from Santa, of course.

Made out like a bandit this year. Nothing unusual I guess, because we tend to go way overboard on gifts since we start Christmas shopping in the summer and would all rather get lots of little things rather than one giant gift-wrapped coolness.

Before I make you envy me though, I want to mention the hands down bestest gifts given this year. My wife, Liz, has worked since August on photo album/scrapbooks, customized for each of the kids and one for her parents. Well over 200 pages of memories each (I don't even want to think about what the ink cost!), plus a CD-Rom of all the photos from each book, plus more that weren't printed, and on top of all that Liz made embroidered covers for each book. Absolutely amazing.

So, here's some of what I got:

A new harmonica (key of A)
Electronic guitar tuner
A gadget to help build rockets
A rocket with a built in camera for taking in-flight photos
Book on writing horror
10th anniversary edition of Myst/Riven/Exile

And movies (surprise, surprise), filling some gaps in my collection:
The Living Coffin (mexican horror)
Zombie 2 (Fulci's Italian classic)
My Favorite Year (Peter O'Toole, one of my favorite actors)
Groundhog Day (Bill Murray)
Evil Dead (Bruce Campbell)
Groundhog Day (Bill Murray)
House/House II (underated)
Groundhog Day (Bill Murray)
Predator
Groundhog Day (Bill Murray)
plus a 50-movie pack called Night Screams, packed full of B-movie drive-in-ish goodness

Rachael also cracked me up with "The Disappearing Civil Liberties" Mug. It has the Bill of Rights written on the side, and when you pour hot coffee or tea into it, the writing disappears. Makes me laugh every time (with a hint of rueage to be sure).

So how was your Christmas?

Posted by Ted at 09:54 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

December 26, 2007

Mmmmm

Rachael bought a dehydrator a while ago, but left it in our kitchen because she really shouldn't have it in her dorm room. Mostly, we use it to make apple, banana and papaya chips for the bunnies.

Yesterday we sliced up a fresh pineapple and started the machine. Last night Rachael described the results as "a bitch slap of flavor!"

Posted by Ted at 04:39 PM | Comments (17) | TrackBack

December 24, 2007

It's Not In the Regular Banner Rotation

...so I'll just post it here.

Happy Holidays

Have a very Merry Christmas and a wonderful holiday season.

Posted by Ted at 12:14 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

December 23, 2007

Thank You, Al Gore

As I mentioned, oldest daughter Robyn and son-in-law Henry are heading up to New Hampshire to surprise his mom for Christmas. They left Norfolk at o'dark thirty this morning and are now in Hartford, Connecticut, where they have a hotel for the night.

A half hour ago, the phone rings. It's the kids, needing a little help. They're staying in a Sheraton (great rate for the night, and it's right off the interstate), and when they asked for a local dining list, it's full of "fine" dining choices that they can't afford and have no interest in anyway.

Kids today solve problems in ways that us geezers would never think of. After explaining the situation, they ask if I'm near a computer, then if I could look up local restaurants for them. Soon, they've decided that they want to eat at Olive Garden, and within minutes I'm giving them directions to the nearest one, within 10 miles of their hotel.

Only one glitch, the directions take them on a toll road, and they'd rather not if they don't have to. Another few minutes, and I'm dictating directions that uses major side roads and alternate routes that's shorter (not necessarily faster) and avoids those pesky tolls that New Englanders are so fond of.

I better hear no crap from my daughter when I call late one night from the road, requesting directions to the nearest titty bar.

Posted by Ted at 05:02 PM | Comments (1)

On the Subject of Squirrels

Not that we were, but since when has that ever stopped me?

Dogette
has been dealing with the tree-beasties.

Bitterman has in the past.

(no specific links, just go and scroll, consider it my present to all Rocket Jones readers)

As most of you know, my daughter Rachael goes to Mary Baldwin College, where the team name is the "Fighting Squirrels" (even more inexplicably, their mascot is named "Gladys").

We exchanged a few gifts last night over at my other daughter's house (they left today for a New Hampshire Christmas with son-in-law's family), and we gifted Rachael with a t-shirt showing a couple of squirrels and reads:

Sure, it's all fun and games until someone loses a nut.

Maybe not so inexplicable after all.

Posted by Ted at 04:53 PM | Comments (16) | TrackBack

December 21, 2007

Dear Gangbanger That I Insulted on the Drive Home

I won't deny it, I was laughing at you.

I'm sure that you're glare is usually very intimidating, but I'd been watching you in the back seat of your homie's SUV, and I was greatly amused.

You see, when you ride along with your head hanging out the window, trying to peep the women in the traffic around you, you look like a damn dog.

Posted by Ted at 04:09 PM | Comments (41) | TrackBack

December 20, 2007

Spirited

There has been a definite lack of Christmas spirit around the officeplace, which was fine with me. That all changed this morning when I walked in and found the place completely decorated by a couple of "anonymous" elves. Not only that, but there are goodies and little gifts left on everybody's desk. I'm wearing an elf hat, complete with pointy ears, and enjoying a sweet little nibble with my tea.

Thank you, little elves. I needed this.

Posted by Ted at 05:52 AM | Comments (12) | TrackBack

December 19, 2007

Gets My Vote For "Most Overused"

No, not Paris Hilton.

I'm tired of the phrase "You can't make this stuff up".

Yes, you can.

Posted by Ted at 05:25 AM | Comments (12) | TrackBack

It's Not Special If Everyone Does It Badly

All the hotel chains now offer a "continental breakfast". I've seen a few, very few, that are actually worth having. Most feature your choice of raisin bran or fruit loops, a basket of brown fruit, envelopes of oatmeal in the flavors that nobody likes, stacks of bread and thawed waffles next to a toaster, and a selection of stale mini-muffins and even more stale mini-danish. All washed down with coffee-colored hot water and watered-down orange or apple juice.

You know what I'd like to see? How about a pot of really good coffee? That's all.

And if people bitch because they want free bad food? Give 'em directions to the nearest 7-11 and tell 'em to buy their own freakin' frozen waffles.

Posted by Ted at 05:06 AM | Comments (24) | TrackBack

December 17, 2007

Best Line of the Weekend

In a weekend full of zingers and one-liners fired by all and in every direction, one stands out.

The graduation ceremony for Old Dominion University was held in the arena where ODU basketball is played (called "the Ted"... no relation). Before the ceremony started the concession stands were open, because the U isn't going to miss a single opportunity to make a few bucks.

So the very first speaker says:

I would like to remind everyone that this graduation ceremony is an event that deserves the utmost dignity.

To which Jeff replied:

You blew that when you decided to sell nachos.

That exchange barely topped my wife Liz, who zinged Jason with this one:

Jason: I have a 60 inch television.

Liz: Sorry to hear you have a little penis.

Jason was speechless, although no one could tell because we were all howling and rolling on the floor.

A grand weekend.

Posted by Ted at 10:11 PM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

December 13, 2007

One Last Thing

From the forum over at Wildside Cinema, posted by a rather disturbed individual named Dent.

Rogers_breakin.gif

Won't'cha be my neighbor... bitch!

Posted by Ted at 08:24 PM | Comments (15) | TrackBack

See ya in a few days

Tomorrow we're headed down to Norfolk for oldest daughter's graduation from Old Dominion University. Depending on traffic and the weather 'round these here parts, we'll be back some time Sunday.

Oh, on a random note... was treated to lunch today at the Fort Meyers Officers Club. On base we passed by General Petraeus' home.

Posted by Ted at 08:15 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Bring Our Troops Home!

From Germany, that is.

I heard on the news this morning that some German minister threatened to boycott future US climate talks unless we agreed to follow their lead in Bali.

Let's see. Since adopting Kyoto, most of Europe - including Germany - have not only *not* met their reduction goals but have mostly ignored them because they've proved to be unreachable without major damage to their economy.

But that inconvenient truth doesn't stop them from lecturing the US. Who, by the way, is actually making progress towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions by using modern technology.

So I say lets reduce our carbon footprint in Germany by closing down every last damn military base and bringing the troops home. Some would probably be shifted to Poland or other eastern European countries, you know, the ones who actually want us there.

Less money for western Europe. We could spend some of the savings on health care for the kids who really need it here at home.

Posted by Ted at 05:58 AM | Comments (222) | TrackBack

December 10, 2007

*Yawn*

The Hollywood writers are still on strike.

I hadn't even noticed.

Posted by Ted at 06:10 AM | Comments (235) | TrackBack

December 09, 2007

All Whiney Bitch, All the Time

I get my stitches out tomorrow and the results of the tissue biopsy are due as well. All is expected to be normal, in which case I can officially stop obsessing over this freakin' skin cancer episode.

Last Monday I made a quickie doctor's appointment because it felt like I had an ear infection. I'm not a hypochondriac, but when I need to go see the doc, I do it. Over the last six months, I've seen the docs way too often. So yeah, I had an ear infection. Both ears, in fact, along with a sinus infection. After four days on antibiotics, not only were the ears not feeling better, they were hurting. Another call to the doctor's office resulted in a new prescription, the antibiotic equivalent of a surgical nuclear strike. I'm all for that. I started the new regime yesterday, but it'll take a day or two to really start kicking in, and in the meantime I've been popping tylenol like candy to keep myself from driving an icepick through my eardrum. And sleeping. I don't sleep much, I've never needed all that much. Yet I've probably slept 36 out of the last 48 hours, and been miserable every waking moment.

This has got to end. I've had one helluva string of minor medical mindfucks, and I'm ready to surrender. Hear that God? UNCLE already!!!!!

Posted by Ted at 08:07 AM | Comments (17) | TrackBack

December 02, 2007

Scars Are Sexy

Ladies, don't correct me if I'm wrong about that.

Yesterday I had a spot of skin cancer removed from my face, and now I have 5 stitches. All I need is a couple of bolts sticking out of my neck and I'll be set.

In the future, I'll refer to it as what happened when I got into that knife fight.

Posted by Ted at 01:08 AM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

November 25, 2007

College Chicks Dig Rocket Jones

Two weekends ago I made the trip to Staunton, Virginia, for Rachael's Father-Daughter Dance weekend. I got there on Friday afternoon so that we could attend their latest play, The Vic. This may have been the first time that it had been performed outside of Canada and peeps, if you get the chance, see it. Very powerful, and this production was incredible. Inspired set design and performances. By far the best I've seen there, and they've put on some excellent shows. I also spent most of the intermission talking to the director who is also one of Rachael's professors, he's a helluva nice guy.

On Saturday, Rachael and I walked around historic downtown Staunton. We hit a couple of bookstores, browsed the farmer's market (last weekend until Spring) and checked out the galleries and museums. In the afternoon, a bunch of us, parents and kids, met at a local restaurant for an early dinner and had a great time. The girls are all very good friends, and this was the first time that most of us parents had met.

That evening was the ring ceremony and formal dance, held in the ballroom at the Stonewall Jackson Hotel. The idea here is that in their Junior year of school, the dad's present their daughters with their school ring. They call each couple up and the presentation is made with much photo taking and so on. Rachael picked out a vintage-style pearl and garnet filigree ring that is beautiful.

The dance was ok. Everyone had a problem with the constant disco ball and flashing colored lights from the stage, so we all (the same group from lunch, plus several more), stayed outside the ballroom in the lobby and danced and enjoyed the company. Had a great time.

After the dance, we'd been invited to the cast party for the show. I love hanging with the theater people.

The next morning, we had breakfast and I headed home. Tired but happy.

For Thanksgiving, everyone was home. Rachael and Robyn arrived on Wednesday to help with the baking and early cooking. Robyn brought her friend Ashley, who comments here occasionally and proves my point that college chicks dig Rocket Jones. Dinner was huge and traditional and we had a ton of leftovers, as usual.

In two week (I think, my internal calendar is overloaded), we head down to Norfolk for daughter Robyn's graduation from Old Dominion University. After the ceremony, a big group of us will be going to see the Norfolk Admirals play ice hockey.

Oh yeah, it's been good times for the proud papa.

Posted by Ted at 09:43 AM | Comments (495) | TrackBack

November 14, 2007

I Could Vote For The Guy

King Juan Carlos of Spain tells Hugo Chavez to "shut up" and the audio clip becomes one of the hottest cell phone ring tones on the Iberian peninsula. Gotta love him. How much?

2008ThompsonJuanCarlos.jpg

This much.

Posted by Ted at 06:18 PM | Comments (402) | TrackBack

November 11, 2007

Weekend Update

The house is quiet, the dishes have been caught up with, and a good weekend was had by all 'cept one. Liz fell Friday night and is pretty much bedridden until further notice. I've been doing nurse duty in addition to everything else going on. Luckily, our son was home yesterday to help Liz out while the girls and I went to the Smithsonians in DC.

Mookie's four friends are all art majors/minors, so we concentrated on the art and artifact museums. Pottery, paintings, sculptures, photography and more. Next time, we'll do the old dead critters and Air and Space.

I did do some tour guiding, beginning with our drive into Rosslyn (we metro'd in from there). We passed the Pentagon, Arlington Cemetery, Iwo Jima Memorial and the new Air Force Memorial en route. Once on the mall, I started explaining how the Smithsonians came into being. You do know the story, right? If not, then read on, otherwise jump ahead to where it says "ZEBRA".

James Smithson was born in France and became a naturalized English citizen. He was a recognized scientist of his day in a few different disciplines. He died in Genoa, Italy and his will left a small amount to a long-time servant and the rest of the estate to his nephew, with the proviso that if the nephew died without an heir then the entire estate would go to the US Government to found "The Smithsonian Institution". The nephew did die a few years later sans heir and the whole shebang went to Uncle Sam.

There was quite a bit of debate about what form the "Smithsonian" should take. Some argued for research labs or farms, others for an observatory. In the end, it was decided to do "D, all of the above". Besides the museums, the Smithsonian has other facilities around the world doing a wide range of work.

In Genoa, the cemetery where Smithson was buried was being condemned, so the US Government had his tomb brought to the USA. It was the first time Smithson had ever been to the US. He made his incredible gift to a country that he'd never visited, for reasons that nobody knows. His tomb is now installed in the famous Smithsonian Castle on the National Mall, and you can visit it (we did).

ZEBRA

Somehow, we started this goofy running gag we called "dead Rachael". Shannon had her camera phone, and at various times and places in and around the museums, we'd take pictures of Rachael in death. In an elevator in the Freer, draped over an upper balcony in the Sackler, slumped over in a chair beside a piece in the Hirschhorn, and on the steps leading up to the National Art Gallery. All places where "dead Rachael" was captured on film... er, on pixels. I did try to convince her to pose for a shot floating face down in one of the museum fountains, but she has more common sense than her dad, if not quite the level of spirited adventure.

The girls all had different ideas of what to see at the last place, so we split up. I wanted to visit the William Turner exhibit, but the line was a mile long and I just didn't have the time. I contented myself with wandering a few of the other rooms, admiring the works of Rembrandt and Monet and Van Gogh and the rest of the famous old dead dudes. I will admit I was rather horrified to see the number of children who were running around only marginally supervised, especially because you can get pretty damn close to the artwork before the proximity alarms go off. I barely caught myself a time or two from snapping at a child who was reaching to touch one of the paintings, and judging from security's reactions towards the parents, I think I'll have a position waiting for me after I retire.

Next week we travel to Staunton for the Father/Daughter Ring Dance. It's a junior year tradition where I present Rachael with her school ring. We went with garnets in an antique filigree rather than the traditional, because Rachael loves red and antique style jewelry. Rachael helped pick it out, she loves it.

So life stays hectic. As much as I love just chillin' sometimes, there's something invigorating about having to go-go-go for a stretch.

Posted by Ted at 08:23 PM | Comments (526) | TrackBack

November 08, 2007

Current Events

There are huge* numbers of Rocket Jones fans who will be green with envy at the following announcement.

This weekend, five (*5*, count 'em eff-eye-vee-eee) college age girls will be living under my roof.

On Saturday, we will all be heading into Washington, DC to the Smithsonians, specifically the Hirshhorn, Freer and Sackler galleries.

And, I get to cook. I've already been informed that the ladies will gladly be guinea pigs for whatever experimental recipes I want to throw at them. After all, they've been surviving on college cafeteria food. *shudder*

I've been planning the menu for a couple of weeks and started gathering ingredients. Last night I began cooking. The menu for the time they'll be here (and most everything will be from scratch, right down to the sauces and marinades):

Friday Evening:
Veggie-Patch Enchiladas
Chicken and Steak Fajitas
Spanish Rice
Tropical Dream Cake

Saturday Morning:
French Toast from home-made Cinnamon Raisin Bread

Saturday Evening:
Baked Potato Soup
Pasta e Fagioli Soup
Garlic Bread
Chocolate Crunch Trifle

Sunday Morning:
Oatmeal with cooked apples

=========================================
* "huge", as defined by this authoritative source

Posted by Ted at 05:00 AM | Comments (5)

November 07, 2007

67 Billion Dollars!!!!!

This morning I heard a report that people leaving hostile workplaces because of sexual or racist comments cost the economy 67 billion dollars a year. According to the report, more than half a million people changed jobs last year for that reason, and lost productivity and the need to train replacements cost 67 billion dollars.

Of course, the study was released by "The Center for a Level Playing Field in the Workplace", or some similar nonsense. That's kinda like being surprised when "The Institude for the Study of Global Warming" announces that global warming is real.

Twelve trillion Americans are sick and tired of bullshit statistics. You can quote me on that, in my official capacity as a member of "The Institute for Pulling Made-Up Numbers Out of My Butt".

Posted by Ted at 06:10 AM | Comments (21) | TrackBack

November 05, 2007

Predictable. Stupid. Predictably Stupid.

So President General Musharraf of Pakistan declares a state of emergency, mainly arrests and detains lawyers because he feels that the judiciary has gotten too politically active.

People all over the world are up in arms over the "loss of freedoms".

The newspapers are still up and running and free to print whatever they want. The radio stations are still broadcasting without government intervention, so is television.

I have a suggestion for him. Call President Bush names. Then, instead of the mock outrage as one of "Bush's cronies", you'll be a freedom fighter seeking to reduce the influence of evil capitalism on your proud and ancient culture, and no one will whisper a word if you decide to take totalitarianism to the extreme.

It works for Chavez in Venezuela. Hell, you might even get your picture taken with Cindy Sheehan.

As for the "people all over the world" (accepted translation: useful idiots), STFU. The situation bears watching, but all your hypocritical hand-wringing and gnashing of teeth impresses no one except your own foolish comrades.

Posted by Ted at 05:55 AM | Comments (515) | TrackBack

October 31, 2007

On Having One's Collective Act Together

You may or may not know that I am a proud resident of Prince William County in Virginia. You may have heard of us recently because after a twelve hour meeting (!) of the County Board of Supervisors, a new law was unanimously passed that will deny taxpayer funded services to illegal aliens. Kids will still get schooled and the emergency room is still available to all, but if you're not a legal resident, then Joe American is no longer footing the bill.

There are already reports from neighboring counties of families scouting out neighborhoods, looking for new places to live. These are, of course, the counties who have decried us as collectively racist and supporters of "hate-based" laws.

These are not the counties who are debating similar laws, which without exception are also overwhelmingly supported by the residents.

Over the last week, a neighboring county has been contacting each and every registered sex offender within its borders, instructing them that come Halloween, they would have the drapes closed, outside lights off, and a sign stating "No Candy" to be displayed on the closed door. Good idea, methinks, and the warning that spot-checks would be made provided a little emphasis that this was more than a friendly suggestion.

Our county did something similar, except that each and every registered sex offender that lives in Prince William County was required to attend a meeting that would last most of the evening on Halloween.

I feel like Corey Feldman in The 'Burbs.

Posted by Ted at 08:03 PM | Comments (40) | TrackBack

October 15, 2007

Weekend Update

Had everyone home for the weekend. Rachael is home for fall break, which prompted Robyn and son-in-law Henry to come up to visit, since they hadn't seen each other in quite a while. It was nice having the kids around, just as it will be nice when they all leave again (Rachael heads back to school tomorrow afternoon).

I spent Saturday afternoon baking. Birthday cake for Robyn (Happy Birthday Sweetie!!!! - today's the b-day), and three batches of biscotti (almond, apple cinnamon, and lemon cranberry).

We had a great dinner at a Japanese steakhouse, with our "chef" being the oriental Henny Youngman. Very droll, very funny (to me, some of our tablemates didn't like him much).

Afterwards, much poker was played, with yours truly coming out the big winner. "Winner" being defined as ending up with the most chips, because we were playing for fun since nobody had any money. Didn't matter, it was good times.

So all in all, a very active weekend. Lots got done. Lots of fun. Muchly needed to recharge the ol' spiritual batteries.

I hope yours was a nice as mine.

Posted by Ted at 07:06 AM | Comments (367) | TrackBack

October 12, 2007

People Staring At Me Strangely (updated)

Every time I think about Al Gore being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, I heartily chuckle out loud. Doesn't matter where, doesn't matter when. At my desk, walking on the sidewalk to work (the construction workers gave me odd looks).

Please Mr. Gore, you've got credibility now! Enter the race and save us from a Hillary Clinton administration!!! You're our only hope!

Hahahahahahahahahahaha!!!!!!!!!!

This is priceless!!!!!! (there aren't enough exclamation points in the world for it)

Thanks to Q&O for pointing that one out.

Posted by Ted at 06:09 AM | Comments (96) | TrackBack

Treats, not tricks (updated)

For Halloween, some downloadable wallpapers (1024x768).

Lon Cheney Sr. in "London at Midnight"

Boris Karloff from "The Mummy" (my personal favorite and what I have at work)

A cute and completely non-threatening clown

Enjoy!

(Update: I created and uploaded these, in case you're worried about virii or other eCommunicable Nasties)

Posted by Ted at 05:44 AM | Comments (22) | TrackBack

October 10, 2007

Magnum? Nitro?

What was the name of that Dodge vehicle that had all the "I'm so tough" commercials? It scared the *bleep* out of the cute widdle cartoon characters, and it ignored the fairy as she bounced shot after shot of magic off of it.

I saw one today on the road with a couple of big-assed cracks running across the entire windshield.

Not so tough when you meet a real fucking rock now, are you?

Posted by Ted at 08:33 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Better Late Than Never, I Suppose

In the Spring, I ordered perennials from Spring Hill Nursery (no link for them), and then spent a couple of frustrating months as half of everything they shipped to me showed up dead and dessicated.

They finally sent a note saying that planting season was over, and they'd send the rest of the order (which they still hadn't gotten right) in the fall.

I've written them off, the company is dead to me. Still, late last week two boxes showed up with my missing items. The asters are in great shape, the geranium appears to be good, but only five of the six primrose survived, and two of the five aren't looking so hot.

Fortunately, we're experiencing one heckuva warm stretch, so the plants are now in the ground and hopefully establishing their little green butts off. Liz wasn't thrilled because I had to transplant some really beautiful annuals to make room for these new arrivals. Annuals that I'd planted to fill in the gaps caused by Spring Hill's inability to actually stock items offered in their catalog, or if shipped, have them survive the process (I never did get living lavender after three tries).

On the plus side, I got to play in the dirt.

Posted by Ted at 05:12 AM | Comments (11) | TrackBack

October 09, 2007

Latest Chinese Recall

Sent to me via email.

china-slide.jpeg

This one makes me cringe.

Posted by Ted at 01:40 PM | Comments (3)

October 08, 2007

If the Pissy Mood Fits, Wear It

Today's rant: Red Bull and all the other various "energy" drinks. Young people today act like they invented overdosing on caffeine. Ooooh, look at me, I'm drinking Red Bull and Vodka, I'm so very cool.

When my parents needed to hype up, they took No-Doz. For my generation, it was Vivarin. Meanwhile, today the kids can't handle the overdrive buzz unless it's kool-aid flavored.

Pussies.

Posted by Ted at 03:17 PM | Comments (0)

October 06, 2007

Announcement

Comments are closed until further notice. Thank an asshole spammer if you actually wanted to say something here.

Posted by Ted at 09:51 PM | Comments (0)

October 03, 2007

An Intriguing Combination

Alison Krauss and Robert Plant: Raising Sand.

Posted by Ted at 03:40 PM | Comments (621) | TrackBack

September 27, 2007

A Higher Form of Stupid

Washington DC is building a new stadium for the Washington Nationals major league baseball team. What was ignored during the planning stages is that there are only 1,300 parking spaces available for the stadium. This isn't a surprise, it was pointed out, but city officials pushed ahead anyways. Part of their reasoning was that people would take Metro. Yay, Metro!

Expansion of the nearby Metro station is almost two months behind schedule. Right now, it can barely handle the crowds that pass through it during a normal work day.

As for parking, why, they'd just borrow parking from all the nearby government agencies! Why plan or build when you can use existing, right? Wrong. The local agencies have denied permission to use their parking lots for security reasons. I completely agree with that. I can't think of an easier way to disrupt (for instance) the Department of Transportation than to take a car bomb (or a fake one) and abandoning it in their parking lot under the guise of going to the baseball game.

When Marion Barry was Mayor, we knew for sure that the boss in DC were on drugs. Now we have to rely on anecdotal evidence.

Posted by Ted at 04:52 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

September 23, 2007

A Line I Wish I'd Have Written

From "The Curious Education of Epitome Quirkstandard":

"I'm sorry I'm late," the girl said once more, in a voice that seemed to blend the best parts of honey and heresy together.

The above is from an audiobook I'm listening to, which is very much in the whimsically absurd style of Wodehouse. So far, so great!

Posted by Ted at 01:56 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 22, 2007

Tinkering Before the "Big Move"

Cleaned up the blogroll some. Pruned away some dead or long unread links. Nothing personal, believe me. Also added some long overdue such as my daughter Robyn's blog and Joan's exceptional Primordial Slack. Re-added the Universal Church of Cosmic Certainty, who had been absent for a while but has made a triumphant return. Also, way down at the bottom, I added links to Podiobooks.com, Come, Let Me Whisper, and a couple other online resources that I frequently use.

Bet you're just thrilled to have read all that, eh?

Posted by Ted at 05:01 PM | Comments (780) | TrackBack

Aaargh (No, I'm Not Stuck On "Talk Like A Pirate Day")

Last Monday evening I pulled an abdominal muscle. As you can imagine, pretty much everything you do involves your abs to some degree. Walking, breathing, standing, sitting... I've been pretty miserable this week, but since it wouldn't feel better if I stayed at home instead of going to work, I still put in a full week. It's getting better every day, slowly but surely.

Point is, I haven't felt much like blogging this week, hence the light posting.

Posted by Ted at 07:39 AM | Comments (15) | TrackBack

September 21, 2007

Hang On Kiddies, This May Be A Wild Ride

Some of you may have noticed that Rocket Jones got hacked last night by some cyber-jihadist. Chief bit-Wizard Pixy fixed things up in short order, and things are back to as normal as they get around here.

I've also given him the go-ahead to migrate Rocket Jones from Movable Type to Minx. Same bat-channel, but the default templates are clean and basic and, well, default. Expect a very different look for a while as I tinker with things under the hood to bring you a new and exciting version of Rocket Jones.

Yep. Dazzle 'em with presentation if the content sucks. It works for Power Point.

Posted by Ted at 05:04 AM | Comments (27) | TrackBack

September 16, 2007

How Do You Spell A Self-Satisfied Sound?

So far today, I've installed an underground downspout extender on the corner of the house, set in a small stone patio, filled in some low spots in the yard with topsoil and put new grass seed and fertilizer down to get established before fall comes on.

It's not even noon yet, I've showered and right now breakfast is sounding pretty good.

Posted by Ted at 11:42 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

September 15, 2007

Is There Something About the Northeast That Sucks the Class from Your Soul?

Besides the Yankees, it's a given that they have no class.

First, the Patriots get busted for cheating, to the tune of a half-mil fine for the coach, a quarter-mil for the team itself, and the loss of either a first round or second and third round pick in the next draft. In other words, this wasn't a slap on the wrist. So then Patriots fans throw a huge collective tantrum because life is so unfair and the cheating bastards were nailed for it. No class.

Next up, Buffalo Sabres defenseman Teppo Numminen will be undergoing open-heart surgery next week to repair a valve. He's known for years that he would eventually need it, and doctors decided that now is the time. He could conceivably rejoin the team by December. So what does the team do? The oh-so-supportively suspend him without pay. What scumbags. Utterly without class.

At least when I do it, it's cute.

Posted by Ted at 11:32 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Meaningless Factoid That Pleases Me To No End

Rocket Jones is number 5 on Google for "I hate the Denver Broncos" and number 3 on Yahoo for the same.

Posted by Ted at 07:34 AM | Comments (14) | TrackBack

September 13, 2007

Come On Out of the Closet Already

C'mon, a *spoiler* on a pickup?

Even without that nonsense, your gelding is already so fancified it's clear you're not driving a real truck. You might as well paint it pink, you pussy.

Posted by Ted at 05:05 AM | Comments (38) | TrackBack

September 12, 2007

Deja Vu

Cheech and Chong did this first, but they made it up. This, on the other hand, is real.

At a job fair today, you can interview with a company who's touting their location on the coast in SouthEastern North Carolina. Interview where? Why, the Westin hotel, of course.

Posted by Ted at 04:51 AM | Comments (21) | TrackBack

September 07, 2007

Chicks Dig Rocket Jones

Hi Ashley!

Posted by Ted at 05:10 AM | Comments (13) | TrackBack

August 29, 2007

If This Is Wrong, Then I Don't Want To Be Right

WalMart is now selling the canned squirt-cheese in PepperJack flavor under its own brand name.

Surprisingly good.

Posted by Ted at 05:27 AM | Comments (11) | TrackBack

August 28, 2007

Yep

America really believes in education. The average professor earns more money in a year than a professional athlete earns in a whole game.

Posted by Ted at 04:54 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

August 27, 2007

Nothing Is Too Good for My Widdle Shnookums

We passed a "Day Spa for Pets" yesterday. It's enormous, and the smallest part are the outdoor runs, because everything your widdle wuvvie-duvvie needs is inside, where it's climate controlled, 'natch.

I mused about how you could set up elite service, when every animal in there is already pampered to an insane degree. After a while, it hit me.

Charge a premium (say fifty bucks a day) and your beloved pet will be fed the meat from an endangered species! You know damn well these snooty twits will spring for it.

"Our Fifi positively *thrives* on spotted owl."

Posted by Ted at 04:35 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

August 26, 2007

Vinyl Cheese

Back in the day of real record albums, there was enough room on the jackets to really have fun *and* fit some real information on there. With the miniaturization of the media it's become a real challenge to create release artwork that is both catchy and detailed. Of course, not everyone used all that album jacket real estate to best advantage.

Uh, guys? How are you going to drink those with your helmet's on? I do like the bright pink brunette on the far left though. Rowwwr.
1958_LesBaxter_SpaceEscapade.jpg

Subtle humor. I likee.
apollo.jpg

Not much subtlety here, although the thought of all that mist makes my bones ache. Cold and damp, oh yeah, that's romance!
bluemist.jpg

But you know, if there's music for that, then why not music for other things?
bond-fr.jpg

daydream.jpg

elgart.jpg

privateeye.jpg

I like this one, it's cute.
contrasts.jpg

That girl certainly gets around though, doesn't she? Ah, the good ol' days, when it took a professional to photoshop something.
seasons-fr.jpg

There's probably a reason.
gers-bongos.jpg

Some things just naturally go together. Some things don't.
hawaii1.jpg

And of course, we can always just dance, dance, dance, because it's more fun if you say it three times.
carroll-dance.jpg

No, really!
tango.jpg

Sorta.
charms.jpg

And if all that was too modern, modern, modern for you, there were always the classics:
crazyguy.jpg

Full disclosure, I had a cassette of old roaring 20's honky-tonk that I played until it just flat wore out.
joe.jpg

Now, *here's* a strategy to sell records! Put bored looking people on the cover! Woo hoo! It's not a good strategy, but it is a strategy.
rough.jpg

Ragtime and Dixieland. Oh yeah.
ohkid.jpg

Although soft, romantic interludes aren't what come to mind when I think dixieland. Or a parade... what the hell?
parade.jpg

peewee.jpg

An interesting take on bondage. Immobilize her with a fishing net and then bring on the dixieland. The jackets add a visual aspect to the torture, which is why she's not blindfolded. Notice her smile? Kinky bitch.
springst.jpg
Alternate caption for the above: One time, in band camp...

Hint: Wrong one.
deeppurple.jpg

Hope you enjoyed.

Posted by Ted at 07:47 AM | Comments (341) | TrackBack

August 17, 2007

What. A. Day.

You know that saying "Don't shoot the messenger"?

Today I was that messenger.

Shooting would've been a mercy.

Posted by Ted at 04:10 PM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

Answers to Quickie Quiz

The quiz is here.

Answers in the extended entry.

Which one was made up?

1. Combination tanning parlor and video store.

Believe it or not, the midwest seems to be riddled with these things. Several years ago we went on vacation through Indiana and Ohio, and couldn't believe how many businesses with this odd combination there were.

2. Combination interior design and casket/urn sales.

This one is my own invention. My daughter Rachael has been talking about starting a fabric store in her college town, speciallizing in theatrical materials besides the usual sewing notions. The original store in town didn't go out of business, but the interior designing she was doing on the side became so successful that she shut down the retail store. While joking around about the name of our "new business" one day, I suggested "Exit, Stage Left" and to divide the store in half, one half selling fabrics and theatrical materials, and the other half selling caskets and urns.

I had a similar inspiration a few weeks ago. Rachael was working in Charlottesville, Virginia this summer (hometown of Dave Matthews, if you care) and while visiting one weekend we spied in the local paper an article that listed things that a town their size should have, but didn't. One item was a botanical gardens park, and another was a strip club. I immediately saw the synergy there and suggested that we combine the two and call it "Flowers and Bushes".

I am accepting investment capital if anyone wants to get in on the ground floor.

3. Combination daycare and martial arts academy.

I saw a sign for this one last week in our neighborhood. I first thought that it was a daycare that offered martial arts training after school or something, but nope, it's exactly what the description says. Odd.

Posted by Ted at 04:55 AM | Comments (37) | TrackBack

August 15, 2007

Quickie Quiz

One of these is made up:

1. Combination tanning parlor and video store.

2. Combination interior design and casket/urn sales.

3. Combination daycare and martial arts academy.

Leave your guess in the comments.

Update: Answer can be found here.

Posted by Ted at 05:05 AM | Comments (22) | TrackBack

August 14, 2007

Menage-a-ensemble

If Dr. Hook were singing this alone, it'd be one thing:

We could bring in the morning girl
If you want to go that far
And if tomorrow find us together
Right here the way we are would you mind
Sharing the night together
Oh-yeah, sharing the night together
Oh-yeah, sharing the night

Sharing the Night Together


But he's not alone, the whole band is singing along in sweet harmony.

Every time I hear this, it sounds like an invitation to a gangbang.

Posted by Ted at 05:17 AM | Comments (14) | TrackBack

August 13, 2007

Yeah, I Got Smacked For It

Lazy Sunday morning, not even properly awake yet.

"Lets play Pearl Harbor," I said to Liz.

"What's that?"

"While I lay here, you blow the hell out of me."

Posted by Ted at 05:11 AM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

Of Course They'll Respect You in the Morning

I heard an AllState Insurance radio spot this morning where they're offering "accident forgiveness" coverage. Pay a little more each month now, and they won't raise rates when you have an accident.

Smart move. Them, not the suckers who voluntarily raise their own insurance rates for the exact same coverage.

Posted by Ted at 04:51 AM | Comments (20) | TrackBack

August 12, 2007

Just Because I Think It Looks Cool

A WWII sub docked at the Baltimore Maritime Museum.

Photo courtesy of Inside Charm City.

Posted by Ted at 08:52 AM | Comments (12) | TrackBack

Take Me Out to the Ballgame

Last night I met a former co-worker for a minor league baseball game. His son is about to enter college, and they're doing a tour of the "local" ballparks. By local I mean northern Virginia, Maryland, southern Pennsylvania and Delaware.

The weather really cooperated. After a couple of scorching, humid weeks yesterday was dry and a relatively comfortable upper-80's.

The game was exciting, with our Potomac Nationals pitcher, Justin Jones, taking a no hitter into the 9th inning. The first out in the 9th was easy, and then the next batter lined a clean single into center. Oh well. Big standing ovation for Jones. He struck out the next batter, then allowed another single to right. The PNats brought in a closer (another long standing ovation for Jones) and the final batter bounced it back to the mound for the game. PNats: 2-zip. They scored both runs in the first.

Excellent. As were the fireworks afterwards, as usual. The game time was less than two hours too.

Posted by Ted at 06:55 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

August 10, 2007

Some Things Man Isn't Meant to Discover

Peanut Butter flavored Jell-O.

Posted by Ted at 10:50 PM | Comments (77) | TrackBack

August 05, 2007

Like Sheep After a Visit to Barber College

The dogs have been needing a haircut. Of course, they don't like haircuts, so we put it off far longer than we should have. With the onset of hell-on-earth month, we went ahead and got it done because they're much more comfortable without all that hair, plus they dry off faster when I hose 'em down while we're out watering the garden (they act like they don't like that either, but they don't move out of the way).

Because they fight the scissors and clippers, they look kinda scraggly for a while. Liz is a perfectionist, whereas I'm like, "who cares, they're dogs". Today, I won that debate because it was just too hot to fight very hard when the dogs resisted. They mostly got shaved, more or less evenly.

Now comes the three day hump-fest as they get over the trauma of a haircut *and* a bath, all in the same day.

Posted by Ted at 07:45 PM | Comments (15) | TrackBack

August 04, 2007

Rocket Jones Goes to the Opera

Last night was our annual trip to Ash Lawn, home of President Monroe and current venue of the Ash Lawn Opera Company. Once again, daughter Rachael is working there for the summer as assistant costumer.

The performance that we chose to see this year was Puccini's La Boheme, possibly the most famous opera of them all. Unfortunately, with the extreme heat and humidity, Liz decided she'd better not go, so I went with Rachael and the other assistant Brittney. Once there, I met several of the technical crew and walked around the grounds for a bit.

There was much concern about the weather because some rather ominous looking clouds were headed our way, and the rumble of thunder was getting louder and more frequent. Most of the audience headed for the indoor pavilion, assuming that the performance would be moved under cover, but many of us stayed put and waited for Mother Nature to make up her mind. The breeze picked up and cooled things off nicely, the humidity dropped noticeably, a few small drops sprinkled on us, and after a 40 minute delay the show started in the outdoor amphitheater. We were treated to a nice little lightning show going on in the background during the first act as the storm that just missed us receeded into the distance.

I spent that delay time having a nice conversation with the people around me. A lady had flown in from Austin, Texas to see the shows (The Sound of Music is the other performance that the company is doing this year). Her daughter was part of the chorus in La Boheme and played Lisle in The Sound of Music (...I am 16, going on 17...). Another nice couple were the Dean of Libraries at William and Mary college and her husband. For a Friday night, the crowd was very much on the older side, there weren't many there that were younger than I. I didn't relate the tale of how a few years ago, a snake fell out of one of the trees overhanging the stage and audience, although I was sorely tempted.

Among the "regulars" at Ash Lawn are three skunks, one of which is an albino, and a peacock with the most horrible ear-splitting screech. At random times during the performances, the peacock will let loose. You can always tell first-time guests because they jump when the feathered beastie screams. If you're not used to it or don't know what it is, it's positively blood-curdling.

So, I haven't much said anything about La Boheme, have I? I really enjoyed it. I did not cry at the end, but there were a couple of moments where the music really did move me, and I think I'll be searching out more opportunities to attend the opera.

Posted by Ted at 08:54 PM | Comments (24) | TrackBack

August 01, 2007

Been There, Done That

When weeding in your garden, the best way to make sure you are removing a weed and not a valuable plant is to pull on it. If it comes out of the ground easily, it is a valuable plant.

Posted by Ted at 11:27 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

July 29, 2007

Flower Blogging

I went outside this morning and spent quite a bit of time watering the flowers because it's been very dry around here lately. I also took a bunch of pictures of the various plants, but I used my old digital camera instead of Liz's new one, and the pictures were too blurry to use. Another day, maybe.

Anyway, as I'm deadheading and watering and generally putzing around the garden, I'm watching the activity around the various flowers. We have a basket of purple blossoms called petras that are like crack to bees. Little tiny bees, big-assed carpenter bees, bumblebees, wasps, mayflies and more. The entire plant is just swarming with 'em, lined up to grab a spot at the blooms. They're so intent on the flowers that they ignore me as I reach in with the soaker hose to water the pot. Bees and I get along, so there was no problem there.

I posted a picture a couple of years ago of a mandevilla that we grew up against a trellis. It's a tropical and didn't survive our winter. This year I've been trying to grow another clematis. Actually, I've planted four there, of which one is still alive. It's scraggly and chewed on and spotted with fungus, but damned if it doesn't keep stretching upwards and weaving its scrawny self through the trellis bars. After all of that, it even managed to pop out a single pretty bloom. I hope it makes it through the winter, because this is a tough little plant and I admire its deterimination to survive.

You followed that link above, right? The other photo there is a shot of New Guinea Impatiens. Around here (northern Virginia), Impatiens and Vinca are *the* go-to annuals. Quick growing, prolific blooming over the entire summer and fall, easy to care for and resistant to insects and disease, if you need to add a spot of color, then plant one or more of these. Spectacular. This year I planted six vinca in the front bed, and they're doing nicely. They probably won't overflow the bed like in that photo, but I didn't plant as many and they were planted relatively late.

We did find a nice variety of impatiens that we hadn't seen before though. It has variegated leaves and the blooms look like little roses, about 1 inch across. Very pretty.

In the side bed we have another O'Hare-esque situation, this time involving a pink phlox and some blue pincushion flowers. Butterflies especially love the pincushions (which have the rather unattractive "official" name of scabiosa), and there will generally be anywhere from six to two dozen assorted butterflies flitting around these plants. What's funny is watching the bumblebees land on the pincushions, because their weight causes the flower stalk to immediately crash to the ground, like an overbalanced painter on a tall ladder. When the bee falls off, the flower springs back into the air. The phlox and pincushions are both perennials, and will come back bigger and better every year. Teamed up with some white Dragon Flowers (a Virginia-native perennial cousin to snapdragons) and an interesting little annual called Agaretum with tiny blue pom-pom blooms about the size of your pinky nail, the side bed has a nice mix of whites, blues, purples and pinks. Come fall, our order of blue asters and purple coneflowers will arrive and we'll get them established to make that side bed entirely perennial.

When I'm stressed from the work week, sometimes the best remedy for me is to watch rockets majestically climb into a big, blue sky, and sometimes it's better for me to look closely at the amazing amount of nature that's happening right in my front yard.

Whoever said "stop and smell the roses" was a friggin' genius.

Posted by Ted at 01:12 PM | Comments (100) | TrackBack

July 10, 2007

Dole Shares Are Probably Up

I have no idea why, but for the last year I've been on a major pineapple kick. I'll often have a can of pineapple chunks in juice for lunch, I love to grill pineapple rings, and the other night I even hacked up a fresh pineapple and carmelized it in a butter-rum sauce (with vanilla ice cream - yummmmmm!).

Now you know. The caring part is up to you.

Posted by Ted at 11:13 AM | Comments (20) | TrackBack

It's Not the Heat, It's the Stupidity

Mu.Nu has been getting hammered with gibberish spam. Not only that, but it's booby-trapped so that when folks add it to the blacklist, valid domains like google.com get inadverdantly blocked too. That bonks the comments in a big way.

I've been busy working on a couple of other projects, hence the light posting here. Pictures and announcements coming soon.

I know it's not original, but I couldn't resist the title. Damn, it's hot!

Posted by Ted at 05:24 AM | Comments (17) | TrackBack

July 05, 2007

Not A Transparent Attempt To Look Like I Posted Today

Pixy is testing a problem we're having with Movable Type. This post is trying to recreate the problem for him.

In related news, I definitely have a problem. Just ask my wife.

Update: Dang. It worked perfectly this time... I don't know whether to be happy or not about that.

Posted by Ted at 07:15 AM | Comments (34) | TrackBack

July 04, 2007

In Which I Attempt A Burkian Circle of Connections

Yesterday I left work at noon because Liz had some lab appointments to take care of. After the first one, we headed to Wal-Mart for a few things and while we were there we decided to buy some flowers for the front yard.

Yeah, it's July and I still hadn't planted in the flower beds. I had ordered several types of perennials from Spring Hill Nursery in April, and we had some problems with the order. The Asters are *still* backordered, and after using the credit that they sent for new plants, I discovered two things. One, Spring Hill customer service isn't all that great, and two, *everything* is backordered until September. That's right, they won't ship the stuff they owe me until Fall.

Hence the flower purchases at Wal-Mart. We picked up some Vinca for the front bed, a few nice variagated impatiens to fill in on the side bed, and a beautiful pink phlox that will come back every year. There were a couple other nice plants in blues and purples, so at least there would be something growing in the dirt.

After dropping off the flowers at home, I took Liz to the hospital. She was scheduled for some tests and had to spend the night. We got her checked in and then I headed home again. Got a few things done around the house, and finally settled in and watched the Benny Goodman Story before falling asleep around 1am.

I got to sleep in until 5am (normal wake-up on work days is 4am), and then drove to the hospital to pick Liz up around 6 or 6:30. They let her sleep in a little extra because it was a holiday, which was nice, but I would've appreciated knowing that because I could've used some extra z's myself. Oh well. We got her checked out and hit IHOP for breakfast.

After eating, we stopped at Lowes for mulch and then headed home. It was such a nice morning that I weeded the flower beds, put the new plants in the ground, spread two hundred pounds of mulch and generally tidied up the front yard. When that was done Liz went inside for more sleep while I got to talking with the neighbors who were just emerging for the day. We're planning a family trip to Old Dominion Speedway one evening to watch the home-town boys race, kinda like minor league NASCAR.

By the time I got inside and cleaned up, it was one in the afternoon. I grabbed a two hour nap, then got up and put together Liz's new sewing table, which involved much furniture rearranging in order to get it where it needed to be.

It's been a long, active 24 hours with too little sleep. Right now, I'm tired. Which also describes my attitude towards Spring Hill Nursery, who started this whole burst of activity.

Somehow, when James Burke does this, it comes out so much better.

Posted by Ted at 05:03 PM | Comments (12) | TrackBack

July 03, 2007

Beverly Sills Passes Away

Brooklyn born opera singer Beverly Sills succumbed last night at age 78 to lung cancer. She was never a smoker.

Known for her bright red hair and shining personality, "Bubbles" worked hard to foster an appreciation for opera to Americans, making numerous appearances on The Muppet Show and The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.

Thank you for sharing your gift with us. You will be missed.

Posted by Ted at 05:51 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

June 30, 2007

Slick

Seen on the 'net:

Courtesy is the KY of social intercourse

Especially important considering the number of dickheads out there.

Posted by Ted at 07:56 AM | Comments (15) | TrackBack

June 29, 2007

Adorable Bunny Blogging (Updated)

Our rabbit Ozzie loves attention. If you put your hand in his cage he will dive under it so you can scratch behind his ears. On the floor, he'll wriggle under your feet so you can rub his back.

Yesterday was pretty funny. He was out and about, running around the room, when he settled underneath a small oscillating fan that Liz has on the floor. Every time the fan moved back and forth, it scratched him on the head, just like he likes.

Update: Mrs. Jones has posted photographic evidence that I do, indeed, live in a universe of cute.

Posted by Ted at 06:09 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

June 24, 2007

Return To Nature?

Like many other parts of the country, our local area has suffered from an explosion of McMansions: those bloated, overgrown houses on ridiculously small lots. Some of these huge homes are set within 10 or 20 feet of each other, and their front and back yards are as small as the ones in a regular townhouse neighborhood.

I'm not griping about the size of the homes, I'm griping about the density.

Driving past one such new development going up, we noted that each unit was four stories, with the bottom floor being a garage. They were shot through with oddly shaped windows to appear upscale and trendy, even unique if you ignored the thirty other homes in sight with the exact same floorplan. They call this one "The Villages at Rippon".

martin house.jpg

I call it "The Purple Martin House at Rippon."

Posted by Ted at 05:26 PM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

June 19, 2007

Sweet Dilemma

Over at The Ministry of Minor Perfidy, Bastille Day has been chosen as D-Day for a soiree involving alcohol, cigars and Axis and Allies.

Alas, like most summer weekends, that particular day offers choices for this social butterfly. The following day, July 15th is Mookie's birthday (she was born, appropriately enough, in Landstuhl, Germany), and we had tentative plans to travel south to see the musical that she is costuming this summer.

If not culture, then Bastille Day also offers my next chance (and last before mid-August) to launch rockets. Despite the lack of posting about them, I still build and fly, and am looking to try some new tweaks to my hybrid system.

And now, the opportunity to push cardboard around and determine the fate of nations via the cast of the die (note to self: check the local game-geek store for yellow dice to honor the French). It's not easy to find people to play wargames with. Correction, it's not easy to find people to play wargames with that you aren't ashamed to be seen in public with.

It's probably no accident that Buckethead lives far out in the countryside at the end of a long dirt road.

Posted by Ted at 05:28 AM | Comments (63) | TrackBack

June 18, 2007

Targeted Ads

I was reading that news story about the flooding going on in Fort Worth, Texas, and along the column were ads for "Nostradamus Online" and "Surplus Army Tents". Make of that what you will.

Posted by Ted at 11:17 AM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

June 17, 2007

Twisted Logic

Methane is a greenhouse gas.
Greenhouse gasses are causing global warming.
Termites eat wood.
Termites fart a lot because of their diet.
Termite farts are methane.
New Orleans was overrun with termites.
Flooding New Orleans killed trillions of termites.
The government is responsible for flooding New Orleans.

Why isn't the federal government getting credit for the single greatest action in recent history to reduce the production of the greenhouse gas that causes global warming?

(inspired by this post)

Posted by Ted at 09:40 AM | Comments (0)

June 15, 2007

Near Perfect Shopping Experience

I love shopping at Wal-Mart. It's really quite amazing how every store has pretty much the same stuff, and the economies of scale really keep prices remarkably low. It's not the greatest quality stuff in the world, but it is reasonable quality for an excellent price, and that's why people shop there.

Their inventory and distribution systems work with an efficiency that would've made the Nazi's proud. Their employee drones are helpful and friendly in an eerie stepford wives sort of way.

I'll bet the corporate fat cats rake in the bucks, sitting in their opulent mansions in Sweden, thanking their lucky stars that the anti-globalization crowd leaves them the hell alone so they can take advantage of Sven Everyman...

Wait... Sweden?

I'm sorry, I typed "Wal-Mart", but what I meant to type was "Ikea". I've never heard of any opposition to them. I assume that they get a pass because they're European.

I love the goofy names they give everything. Bookshelves called "Turgid", comic book organizers with a name made up of letters never meant to be consecutive. If they sell a "Muuki", I'm sure it'll be something weird and wonderful like a tofu-wringer or something.

Their showrooms are masterpieces of marketing and psychology. You start at the beginning and follow the arrows on the floor, and you don't get out until you've seen every last thing on both floors. There are convenient shortcuts, and they're not hidden but they are very unobtrusive. You're not supposed to notice them, you're supposed to see every last thing on both floors.

Nothing is free, everything is reasonably priced. I bought some bookcases today and spent a buck for a hank of rope ("Tot", with a long oh, hehe) to tie the trunk lid down. The engineering of the bookcases is magnificent, as was the packaging. For the money we'll get years of use out of them.

The only problem I have with Ikea is the lack of outrage about their corporate existance. I mean, if I'm going to shop at a globe-spanning mega-corporation, I want the guilty pleasure of being reviled for excessive and notable conspicuous consumption. I demand the sly satisfaction of knowing that I'm pissing off a commie or tree-hugger just because I've entered the store. I'm being denied the opportunity to annoy organized labor!

C'mon people, where's the hate?

Posted by Ted at 09:27 PM | Comments (513) | TrackBack

June 14, 2007

Comfortable, Yet Oddly Uncomfortable

I'm walking around the office today sans shoes, since they're still damp after being soaked in the deluge last night.

You were dying to know that, weren't you.

Posted by Ted at 11:41 AM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

June 01, 2007

This One Is Going Into The "Tagline Archive"

Saw it today on a tech forum:

The Internet: Where men are men, women are men, and children are FBI Agents.

Yep.

Posted by Ted at 08:38 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

May 31, 2007

Sometimes the Best Part is the Showing Off

Three hours ago, Mookie and Mrs. Jones came home from a lucrative shopping trip. WalMart is getting rid of their fabric departments, and the ladies hit them hard at clearance prices. Much fabric was carted into the house.

Mookie just came downstairs to model a skirt she made. Red polka dots, side-zipper, and other sewish jargon that I don't understand was used. It looks good.

I asked her if it ever made her friends mad that she could whip out a skirt or purse in a couple of hours. She answered, "not really, but it really pisses 'em off when I do it without using a pattern."

Like this one. The girl got skilz.

Posted by Ted at 07:33 PM | Comments (205) | TrackBack

The Magic of Minor League Baseball

So far this season...

Had the owner of the team come into the stands to shake hands and say "hello, thanks for coming" to every single person there. He even sat with some folks for a while, talking about things that could be improved at the ballpark.

After one evening game, as we walked back to the car we passed a guy in full kit, standing in the dark of the parking lot playing the bagpipes.

During a mid-week evening game - attendance less than 300 - we watched as the ushers made sure that every single kid in the stadium got a foul ball during the game.

Monday's are dollar night. Ticket to the grandstand, a buck. Hot dog, a buck. Not cheap dogs either, these are Hebrew National franks.

The astoundingly good fireworks after Saturday night games.

Hearing an announcement that goes something like, "Would the owner of a blue Honda Accent, license plate ABC-123 please report to the customer service booth... because you've got THE DIRTIEST CAR IN THE PARKING LOT!!!" They win a deluxe car wash from a local business. It's done every game, and I laugh like hell every time.

Cheering every game when the home team takes the field before the National Anthem, who are then joined by the players from one of the local little league teams.

The various renditions of the National Anthem. Not that bad, not that good (to quote Alabama). Once by an elementary school choir, another time by Miss Blue Ridge Mountains or some such. Got a lump in my throat when she dedicated the song to her dad, who was a reservist leaving for Afghanistan in a couple of weeks.

Singing Take Me Out to the Ball Game for the seventh inning stretch, followed by the theme song from SpongeBob Square Pants. I'm getting to know those words, too.

Dozens of little kids in their little league uniforms scrambling for every foul ball.

Watching pre-game warmups to various baseball-related songs interspersed with comedy bits like Abbot and Costello's classic Who's On First?

Baseball, played by guys who love the game. They're not getting rich at this level, and the odds are that they'll never get to the big show, but they hustle and play hard every single play.

Rocket Jones Recommendation: Try it, you might love it.

Posted by Ted at 05:49 PM | Comments (16) | TrackBack

May 26, 2007

My Private Little 50's Horror Movie

I'm sitting in the living room last night around 11pm, watching a movie (lesbian vampires, review coming soon), when I felt something land on me. I brushed it away without thinking. A few minutes later, it happened again. Almost immediately, again. Now, the thought did cross my mind that it could be a spider, but hey, I'm watching lesbian vampires, ya know?

I finally snagged whatever is was that was landing on me and looked at it, and it had wings. We've had mayfly hatchings where the dang things get into the house and are everywhere, but this didn't look like a mayfly. It looked like an...

Uh oh. Go turn on the light and then check the front door. Sunuvabitch! Ants!!! The tile floor in front of the door is covered with 'em, and I see scouts already making their way onto the carpet. The doorframe is alive with them and they're making their way along the wall as they expand their beachhead.

I'm really pissed off now. Heading into the basement to find some industrial grade ecologically-unsound ant fucker-upper, I'm wondering if wasp/hornet killer will do the job, because I *know* I've got two cans of that shit. What I found was an old pump spray bottle of ant killer for plants with about two inches of liquid in the bottom. I checked for an expiration date, but no luck.

Hoping that spraying the ants with this ancient chemical wouldn't make them grow to beagle size, I started in on them. Wonder of wonders, it was still potent enough to kill them and not just make them wet and angry. I spent the next couple of hours spraying and then waiting for the next wave to appear. It was like Normandy, except that I was the Kraut bastard in the pillbox staring over the sights of my machine gun, and there were no Captain Miller's in the invasion force.

At 3am, I used paper towels to mop up the last little corpses and sop the last puddles of insecticide from the floor. I also poured the last half inch of poison (that wouldn't pump) into the visible anthole. This afternoon I went out and bought ant baits to put around plus some long lasting ant-killer/repellent.

Nobody interrupts me when I'm watching lesbian vampires! A man's gotta have his limits.

Posted by Ted at 02:51 PM | Comments (440) | TrackBack

May 23, 2007

I Could've Sworn That I'd Mentioned This...

A recent idea for a practical joke for when I hit the lottery, but first a quick setup: We live in a townhouse community, and each home is allotted one reserved parking space, with all extra spaces marked as "visitor" (first-come-first-served). Since nearly everyone has at least two cars, the visitor spaces are dear, especially ones near your house.

If I hit the lottery, on a Friday morning as people leave for work, I will call for PODS to be delivered, one for each open visitor space. Imagine the reactions when folks get home for the weekend to find all the extra parking taken up by these portable storage units.

Hilarity ensues.

For some, winning the lottery means they get the chance to buy special gifts for their folks or they can retire or donate big money to a favorite cause. For me, it provides the opportunity to be a prick. Grande.

Posted by Ted at 08:12 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

May 20, 2007

Help Me! I've Vacationed and I Can't Get Up!

Wife Liz said it best... "whirlwind" vacation. We had a great time, but it wasn't chock full o' rest and relaxation, despite my best intentions.

We saw Steely Dan in concert, and it was disappointing. Technically, they were very good (as expected) and very jazzy and improvisational (as expected), but the show was only about a dozen songs, each one stretched out by long solo runs. Liz is a casual fan and she didn't recognize anything they played until the seventh song, which is criminal when you consider how long they've been on the radio. There was almost nothing that you'd consider their "Greatest Hits". I enjoyed the heck out of it and would've been thrilled to see the show in a club, but when I pay concert prices I expect to hear familiar music done well, not the fifth song on side B of their second album from 1973.

As we were in line to get into the concert, they were patting folks down. At their request I started to empty my pockets, and the guy says, "you don't have any knives, do you?"

I said, "yes I do, my Swiss Army knife", and I pulled it out of my back pocket where it almost always resides.

After consultation with the head of security, I was told that I couldn't bring it into the concert arena. Ok, so I left Liz there - let them deal with her wheelchair clogging traffic, they're the ones causing the problem - and ran back to the parking garage to put my knife in the car. Back to the arena and the fool wants to pat me down again.

This time, I said, "excuse me, but I just ran back to my car and put the knife away. Do you really think I just wandered around for 10 minutes before coming back here to sneak in a knife that I voluntarily told you I had when you asked?"

I think that confused him. He waved me through. I didn't even want to get into the whole "weapon vs. tool" debate. Not the time nor place. Besides, only a wuss would classify a Swiss Army knife as a weapon.

Posted by Ted at 07:47 AM | Comments (55) | TrackBack

May 13, 2007

Vacation!!!

We travelled to Staunton to visit daughter Mookie this weekend. She's taking a class on Directing in theatre this term and the final project was an evening of one-act plays. She and the other two young ladies each directed two plays, and it was an enjoyable evening. We were invited to and stayed after for the cast party.

Tomorrow, I work a half day and then the Mrs. and I are off for a week's vacation. I expect I'll have internet access along the way, but mostly I'll be relaxin' and recreatin'.

On Friday, I have a long-assed drive home, just in time to get to the mandatory Friday evening meeting for this year's Team America Rocket Challenge. That happens Saturday (rumor has it that the opening cermony flyby may be an F117 stealth fighter, woot!), and on Sunday I'll probably just do my comatose impersonation.

Posted by Ted at 04:04 PM | Comments (45) | TrackBack

How To Tell You're In A Woman's College, Part (whatever)

The sign on the door says "Men's Restroom", yet there's a sign next to the toilet reminding you not to flush your tampons, and a little biohazard box for disposal of things that shouldn't be flushed.

Because even though it's a "Men's Restroom", if that were strictly adhered to the room would be unused 99.5% of the time.

I left the seat up.

Posted by Ted at 03:49 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

May 08, 2007

Somehow, I'm Not Surprised

They first tried to pin the blame on Kirk for the assasination of Chancellor Gorkon and later implicated General Chang and Lt. Saavik among others, but recent evidence has surfaced to reveal the true masterminds behind the conspiracy to ignite a war that would span the galaxy.

RJklingons.jpg

Hasidic Klingons. Who knew?

Posted by Ted at 08:22 PM | Comments (12) | TrackBack

Eventually, on Rocket Jones

In keeping with my new motto, "All the news, when I get around to it", I figure I'll post something on the new cold fusion technique later this week. Maybe. I've also got coverage of Lileks' reassignment penciled in for next week. Now, if you're in a hurry or have a thing for "timely" news, well then, I guess you're in the wrong place, eh?

Posted by Ted at 05:17 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

May 06, 2007

Baseball Blogmeet

Despite rather dicey weather yesterday, Liz and I went to the Potomac Nationals baseball game. Due to the Milbloggers conference in DC and other's schedule conflicts, we already knew that turnout would be light. Light, in this case, equals zero. Nobody else made it.

Along about the 5th inning, a very light drizzle started. A few umbrellas popped up here and there, but it never got worse than a light rain, and even then it was very brief.

The Nats were losing 4-2 at the top of the ninth when Liz and I decided to head for the car. Although we were taking the chance of missing a potential comeback for the home town boys, the thought of enjoying the fireworks from the comfort (and warmth) of our car in the parking lot was just too tempting to pass up. The fireworks once again were spectacular.

Victor and Nic have proposed June 16th for the Nationals vs. the Frederick Keys - in Frederick, Maryland. We'll have to check our calendar, but I'm almost certain that we'll be there for that one.

Posted by Ted at 10:07 AM | Comments (16) | TrackBack

May 04, 2007

I Smell Organic Fertilizer

Today someone trotted out the tired argument about those "evil oil companies and their obscene profits".

Somehow, Starbucks (18.5%) and Google (69%!!!) get a free pass, yet the gas companies are supposed to give away their product because Joe Average doesn't want to pay market prices.

Milk costs a lot. When was the last time you saw a dairy farmer standing out front of the grocery store, giving out free half-gallons because he charges too much for milk?

Obscene prices? Have you seen what "organic" food sells for? Those freakin' hippies are robbing us blind.

Posted by Ted at 09:25 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

May 02, 2007

Oh Sure, You're Laughing Now

Like they say, the longest journey starts with a single step, and this is a baby step to be sure. Still, it's a start. Measurable progress. And some day, when I rule the world with my invincible army of sharks with frickin' laser beams on their heads, you'll remember this and wonder how you could have been so blind.

mean streak a mile wide

I've already decided on my mini-me too.

smileface.jpg

He's the right shape, and has that vaguely disturbing smile that makes you wonder what he's been up to. I'm not sure about the color though... unless it's because he's jaundiced. Yeah, that's it. Jaundiced, in every sense of the word.

Someday, people.

Posted by Ted at 04:08 PM | Comments (11) | TrackBack

May 01, 2007

Career Advice

Dear Baseball Player,

I assume that you get to pick the music that plays when you come up to bat. Please rethink your choice. Do you really want management to hear Dire Straits' Money for Nothing every time you step up to the plate?

Ted

Liz and I went to the Potomac Nationals game last night. Three bucks for parking, dollar admission and dollar hot dogs. Gotta love Monday night games.

For folks planning to attend the game this Saturday (May 5th), we're going to be sitting in section 8, in the handicapped seating. When you get to the stadium, ask for tickets in section 8, right behind the wheelchair spots. Seats in that section are $7.00, which leaves more money for beer. Don't forget the fireworks afterwards.

Posted by Ted at 04:57 AM | Comments (17) | TrackBack

April 30, 2007

Muahahahahahahahaha

Phase 3 of my "Secret Plan to Increase Our Emergency Food Supply" is now complete.

Just kidding. We've officially adopted Ozzie the rabbit as our own. This points out the major flaw in the "Foster Care for Homeless Rabbits" idea, which is that we wind up falling in love with 'em and don't want to give them up.

Posted by Ted at 06:00 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

April 28, 2007

When Did Cowboys Become Pussies?

I turned on the Vs. network this afternoon, looking for the hockey game, but instead they were showing professional Bull Riding. These guys are wearing helmets and face masks instead of cowboy hats. What the hell?

Posted by Ted at 10:38 PM | Comments (1)

April 26, 2007

Return of the Classic Rocket Jones Banners

I rediscovered Madfish Willie's excellent banner rotation script yesterday, and remembered that I had modified it to display banners of differing sizes (like, oh, here!), but never implemented it on Rocket Jones.

Until now. I've installed the script, and have begun the process to add all the banners to the mix. So far, it's just eight of the early ones, and I'll add more as time allows this weekend. All told, there have been 45 banners flying over this site!

Hit refresh and you'll probably see a new banner. If not, try it again because you probably reloaded the same one again (random will do that sometimes).

Enjoy!

Posted by Ted at 10:14 PM | Comments (165) | TrackBack

Bovine BDSM

I'm sure there's an innocent explanation...

Cows-in-truck.jpg

...but where's the fun in that?

"Ooooh yeah, Bossy... harder, harder... Tenderize that flank-steak!"

Posted by Ted at 11:48 AM | Comments (34) | TrackBack

April 24, 2007

Redundant! Self-Referential! Self-Deprecating! Redundant Too!

Snippet:

I'm not the King of Stupid, but I am on the ten-dollar bill.

Posted by Ted at 05:24 AM | Comments (313) | TrackBack

April 23, 2007

Getting in Touch with My Inner Yuppie

The newest fad at the supermarket is "All Angus Beef". That's right, if you eat those inferior breeds of cow, you aren't getting "All Angus Beef", and that is supposed to make you feel uncomfortable in some vague way.

But what about those other poor inferior breeds of cow? Who's looking out for their feelings? What about their self-esteem? My God, you insensitive bastards, you could be permanently damaging their self-image! It's not their fault that they're born other than "All Angus Beef"! Who are you to judge that cow? Thanks to you, who knows what horror that poor bullied and picked upon cow could inflict upon an unsuspecting herd when he goes *Mad Cow*?!?!?!?!?!

See how fucking stupid that sounds?

Posted by Ted at 04:02 PM | Comments (16) | TrackBack

Great Weekend, How About Yours?

Weather-wise, it was nice enough to (almost) make up for the lousy weekends we've had lately. Bright blue skies, gentle breezes, temps in the 70's... absolutely beautiful.

Saturday morning was spent sleeping in, which is something I almost never do. Once I dragged myself out of bed, we went to work in the front yard. Staking new trellises, planting things, fertilizing and readying the beds for the arrival of the new flowers. It was very pleasant and great therapy to help me relax after the stress of the work week (and it was a total bitch of a week at work).

On Saturday evening Liz and I went to see the Potomac Nationals take on the Frederick Keys. It was a pretty good game, and the handicap seating at the stadium is almost at field level, right behind third base. Not too shabby. I also realized that I wasn't shocked at the concession prices, mainly because for stadium prices, they weren't outrageous. My biggest problem at sporting events is that I forget that as soon as you buy that ticket, all prices are calculated in Italian lira but paid in American dollars.

The after-game fireworks show was glorious, and even better than last year. There were a lot of folks down from Maryland for the game - the Keys are a Baltimore Orioles farm club - and they were amazed at the show, and even more amazed that the fireworks are done every Saturday during the season.

On Sunday I took Liz up to Baltimore. Her and her sister are flying down to Florida (in the air as I type) for their parent's 50th anniversary. Brother-in-law just put his boat in the water on Saturday, so we spent a lazy afternoon cruising the Cheasapeake bay on their 32-footer. Three years after Hurricane Isabel put a hurt on the area, there are still many homes being repaired. A lot of hideous "McMansions" are going up too, as folks with money buy property from old-timers who couldn't afford to rebuild after the storm wiped out their retirement dreams. Danny has been boating in the area his whole life, and I loved his little bits of history and background story he dropped into the conversation. "Back in the 50's, that island had a small amusement park on it. Those pilings are all that's left of the railroad bridge that used to connect to the mainland." "Those houses are all less than five years old, and that bar has been there for at least thirty years. Live bands every weekend since forever. And now the new homeowners are raising hell about the noise."

Got home last night refreshed and recharged, but still not ready to go back to work. It's even harder when you know that it's just as nice out today as it was all weekend.

Posted by Ted at 10:56 AM | Comments (12) | TrackBack

April 21, 2007

Spring, That Season When Plans Go Right Out The Window

After spending most of a year swearing that I was going to plant boxwoods in the front of the house, eliminating the need for anything but an annual trimming and mulching, I ordered flowers for the front yard last week.

Not a shrub in the lot. What can I say? I'm a flower guy.

Two new clematis to share a new trellis, one pink and one white, hopefully their bloom season will be different enough to extend the color. I love clematis, and already have one growing in another bed.

In the bed along the front walk will be blue asters, white dragonflowers (variety of snapdragon and a Virginia native, according to the catalog), and pink "pincushion" flowers (a much nicer name than the scientific scabiosa.

The front bed is getting a hedge of lavender. Should smell wonderful, attract butterflies and maybe hummingbirds, and tons of bees too, to keep the (bleepin') neighborhood kids away so they'll quit teasing the dogs.

Not a simplification in the garden plan... not by a long shot. But, they're all perennials. I'll take my small victories when I find them. And the flowers this year should be gorgeous.

Posted by Ted at 06:29 AM | Comments (1)

April 20, 2007

Odd... I don't feel like picketing KFC

As I was finishing lunch at my desk, it dawned on me that I haven't had any meat since Wednesday.

Posted by Ted at 11:14 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

April 18, 2007

Compare. Contrast. Discuss.

When granny drives, all you can see through the back window is her hair and hands on the wheel as she peers over the dash.

When homey drives, all you can see through the back window is his do-rag and one hand on the wheel as he peers over the dash.

Either granny is hot shizzle, or homeboy looks like a silly fool. I know which way I'm leaning.

Posted by Ted at 08:10 PM | Comments (24) | TrackBack

April 17, 2007

Take Me Out to the Ballgame

Hey there, friends and family! It's time for our 42nd Annual* Blogger Meet at the ballpark!!!

Invitations are going out to DC metro area friends and bloggers for the first blogmeet game of the year which will be Saturday, May 5th at 7:05pm as the Potomac Nationals take on the Wilmington Blue Rocks. After the game they have a pretty good fireworks show and you might even see Buckethead's son whack me in the jewels with a bat. Again.

No invitation? No problem! Just email me and I'll add you to the list. We've always managed to get a block of seats together ($9.00 a ticket), but that's not garaunteed (never can spell that word).

The P-Nats (I cringe every time I hear the team nickname) play in Woodbridge, Virginia, in Prince William County (directions here).

Liz and I will be going to the game this Saturday, May April 21st, if anyone is interested in meeting up. We're going to check out the wheelchair access seating and see what it's like.

Also, if anyone would like to set up something similar with another local minor league team, let's do it!

*42nd Annual? Yep. If 42 is the answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything, then baseball is the answer to why we bother.

Posted by Ted at 07:16 PM | Comments (18) | TrackBack

April 12, 2007

Housekeeping

I updated some links in the sidebar for folks who've moved and pruned away a few dead branches.

I'm also (still) playing over at my Minx beta site.

Posted by Ted at 05:20 AM | Comments (375) | TrackBack

April 09, 2007

Low-Grade Blech

I felt like crap all weekend and spent most of it sleeping and laying around.

The recently added "recently viewed" box over on the sidebar is longer than normal now, because I watched more movies than I usually get a chance to see. There will be at least one new movie review coming up too.

Posted by Ted at 05:51 AM | Comments (17) | TrackBack

April 08, 2007

Yummmmmm

Dark chocolate-covered blueberries!

Posted by Ted at 08:16 AM | Comments (2)

First In War, First In Peace...

It's going to be ugly this year for the Washington Nationals baseball team. Fielding a team mostly comprised of cast-offs, wannabe's and never-were's, a lot of preseason pundits proclaim them the worst of the league this season. So far, they're playing like it.

I don't hate them, but I have no love for them either. For all the talk about how much baseball means to DC, the fact remains that on opening day they drew 40,000 in a 56,000 seat stadium. It's not going to get better, and they need a miracle of biblical proportions - ala the Amazin' Mets - just to reach up to the level of lousy. Opening day may well have been their high point for the next couple of seasons. So much depends on this new ownership.

...Last in the American National League.

Here's hoping for a Washington/Baltimore World Series in the very near future.

Posted by Ted at 06:15 AM | Comments (17) | TrackBack

April 07, 2007

Winter Wonderland

The forecast called for a little snow, more towards our end of the area. I woke up this morning to about an inch of the fluffy white stuff. It's already mostly gone now, but the return of cold weather means I get major snuggles all night. And when the dog moves, I can cuddle my wife.

Posted by Ted at 11:10 AM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

April 04, 2007

New Rocket Jones Feature in Amazing CinemaRamaScope with Super-3D ChillerVision!!!

Over on the sidebar I've added a blip that lists the last few movies that I've watched. Where possible, I'll include links to IMDB or other reviews.

For the complete collection of reviews, articles and posts about those crappy movies that I love so much, check out the Rocket Jones Cult Flick Archives.

Posted by Ted at 05:15 AM | Comments (16) | TrackBack

April 03, 2007

What The Hell Is That?

Remember the tick? As of today I'm taking antibiotics for Lyme Disease.

Posted by Ted at 02:15 PM | Comments (16) | TrackBack

Wal-Mart Observations

A lot of people say they don't hate Wal-Mart, per se, it's the Wal-Mart customers that they can't stand. We went last night and that was an apt description.

My wife brought up that in our experience, compared to suburban Wal-Mart's, the small town Wal-Marts are friendlier and less likely to be overrun by the freak show. In her words, "less teeth, more genuine smiles". That too is an apt description.

Smalltown, USA might have the occasional oddball or two, but suburbia has more of them packed into a given area and they all want to shop at Wal-Mart. At that level of concentration, we don't call them 'eccentric', we call them assholes.

True story: Checkout lines were very long and slow, and I'm standing behind some guy and his wife. Among the items in their cart was a package of some sort of Easter candy, you know, six or eight individually wrapped chocolate whatevers. After a while, he opens the package, unwraps a candy and eats it. Several minutes later he eats another, and then another. They finally get to the checkout, and he was disappointed that the scanner charged him full price for the half-empty package of candy.

His wife proudly crowed, "see? Told'ja!"

Judging by the amount of Easter candy in their cart, I think it's too late to prevent them from breeding.

Posted by Ted at 05:58 AM | Comments (292) | TrackBack

Who

There's a screech owl that lives in the woods behind our house. I don't know if it's an actual screech owl, but if I were naming owls then this one would definitely get that name. It sounds like a man in abject terror, and the throat-ripping scream is cut off mid-sound as if he were suddenly decapitated.

Eerie and disturbing. Frequent too. I've kinda grown to love it.

Posted by Ted at 05:32 AM | Comments (20) | TrackBack

April 02, 2007

I Don't Think So

I have my Windows installation set up to check for updates and let me know when new ones are available. I don't let it do automatic updates.

This evening I finally got around to looking at the update that had been sitting there for a couple of days. A helpful text box popped up explaining that this latest oh-so-very important update would scan my computer and if my copy of Windows was bootlegged, then a friendly message would appear periodically to remind me to upgrade to legal software.

Now if I have a legal version of Windows installed (I do), why would I need it? And if it's a bootlegged copy, why would I let you install an update to annoy me about it? I guess they're going after the dishonest *and* stoopid people out there.

No thanks. Cancel install.

Posted by Ted at 08:24 PM | Comments (15) | TrackBack

April 01, 2007

Spring has Sprung

Woke up this morning to find a tick buried in my arm.

Posted by Ted at 05:59 AM | Comments (30) | TrackBack

March 27, 2007

Forest? What Forest?

Paraphrasing a radio commercial I heard this morning on the radio:

An important piece of the news that lets you understand the whole story, that's information. At Washington Post Radio, we only give you what you need to know, to understand the world around you.

No pretense there. They'll tell you everything you need to know. Too many supposedly well-informed people get all their "information" from one source, because it's easier and faster than dealing with contrasting viewpoints or hearing both sides of a story. That thinking stuff is hard.

Posted by Ted at 05:13 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

March 26, 2007

Snippet

Rachael: You need a polka dot tie. Polka dots are in.

Dad: I do have a polka dot tie, but the dots are very small.

Rachael: How big doesn't matter, just the fact that they're there.

Dad: Kind of like a penis.

Rachael: Growing up in this house has already psychologically scarred me, you can stop now.

Posted by Ted at 05:05 AM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

March 23, 2007

Either I'm Dog-Sitting, Or My Dogs Are Having A Sleepover

No matter, the universe is in balance.

Daughter Robyn came home for the weekend yesterday and brought along her new dog, Army (short for Armando). That makes three dogs running around, which matches the current number of rabbits in the house (Fred, Java and Ozzie). Now that Rachael is on her way home for the weekend, I will have all three kids underfoot as well.

Three. Three. Three. Half the number of the beast. Satan light.

Posted by Ted at 05:59 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

Comments

Mu.Nu has been swamped the last couple of days with comment spam, which means that our filters have been working overtime to defend the virtual ramparts. Unfortunately, this means that quite a few of you have been unable to leave comments, and I appreciate the emails I've gotten with feedback and letting me know that there's a problem. My apologies for the frustration, and know that we're just as sick of it as you are.

Minx will be up and running soon, beta test-wise, and I've been working on a new XML <Electrocute Spammer> tag, but it's not quite functional yet.

Posted by Ted at 05:20 AM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

The Mortgage Crisis (Updated and Bumped!)

I feel sympathy for those folks who are starting to lose their homes because they took out adjustable mortgages. That's a bad situation to be in. I just didn't realize that they were all stupid. I figured that they had gambled that rates would stay low, and lost that bet. Or maybe they miscalculated just how much rates would rise and how it would affect their ability to pay.

Today I heard a news report that actually told me that these poor people were in the position they are because they didn't understand how an adjustable mortgage worked.

So these unfortunate borrowers - who, by the way, initiated contact with these evil lending institutions - were forced to sign enormous documents in multiple places in the presence of lawyers without anyone making an effort to explain what the conditions were in order to borrow tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars.

See what I mean? These folks were stupid! They didn't know enough to ask questions. They didn't *understand*! They're victims.

Like I said, I feel sorry for them because it's a lousy situation to be in. But not sorry enough to think we (as in the taxpayers) should bail them out. And if their credit is ruined for a while, then maybe it's better that way because they're obviously not ready to play with the adults in the real financial world.

Update: Over at Wizbang!, new contributor Jayson Javitz provides an insider's look at the looming "Mortgage Tsunami". It's worth checking out.

Posted by Ted at 04:57 AM | Comments (13) | TrackBack

March 22, 2007

Choice

When the World Trade Center collapsed, not quite 3,000 people died. That's a big number, but not really inconceivably big*. It's human nature to generalize when the scope of death is that big. It's easier to get our minds around it when the numbers are rationalized into "a whole lot". But by doing that we collectively dull the pain and outrage by reducing it to a statistic.

Benton City, Washington. Population 2,790.

Could you make the decision to kill every man, woman and child in that town? The terrorists on 9/11 made just such a choice.

The victims that day weren't all American citizens. They came from more than a score of countries. They all contributed in their own way to the modern world, from the executives in the boardrooms to the illegal alien bussing tables in the restaraunts.** They shared one trait, they were collectively hated because of where they lived and worked.

Holden, Maine. Population 2,827.

Can you even conceive of something that would make you so angry that you would be willing to murder thousands? Not thousands of soldiers or another group of people who've wronged you, just several thousand randomly selected innocent targets.

Sedgewick County, Colorado. Population 2,747.

Imagine waking up one morning knowing that you were going to commit mass murder. How perverted is your worldview to even allow consideration of such an act?

The people who died in the attacks that day represented many varied belief systems and religions, and no doubt more than a few were followers of Islam. Not that it mattered, because the object was mass destruction and death, and the who that died mattered less than the why of it to the terrorists.

Today, followers of that same perverted vision of religion are intentionally murdering civilians in Iraq. Somehow, it's gotten all turned around that it's America's fault. If you can, please explain to me how anything America has ever done can make it morally acceptable to choose to walk into a crowded public place and detonate explosives strapped to your body.

And if those numbers are too large and impersonal for you, how about the latest car bombing in Iraq, where terrorists detonated a car bomb with two children inside it. The children were there to lure the checkpoint soldiers into letting their guard down.

Godless, subhuman savages. Anyone who believes that it is possible to negotiate with such as that is a fool. The terrorists have been clear about what they want, and you can make the choice for yourself. You can choose to live under their twisted form of slavery, or you can fight and keep fighting so that you and your children can live as free people. You cannot choose compromise, because the terrorists do not recognize the possibility.

* That number seems even less threatening considering the number of dead in the last tsunami, but that natural event points out that on our worst days, mankind is a piker compared to what Mother Nature can do to us.

** I guess the politically correct term would be "undocumented immigrants" but "illegal aliens" is more technically correct. There are substantiated reports that at least a few lost their lives that day. I mourn for them as I do for everyone who died in the attacks, but I'm not going to sugarcoat their legal status.

Posted by Ted at 04:54 AM | Comments (0)

March 19, 2007

This May Only Interest Victor

Y'all might want to re-read the chapters of my story, "Zombies of Autumn", just to refresh your memory of what's already been posted.

Just sayin'. ;)

Posted by Ted at 05:29 AM | Comments (13) | TrackBack

March 15, 2007

A Civilization In Decline - Example 1

Why is it that when I want onion rings with real onion "rings" inside I have to buy gourmet-style? If you buy regular onion rings, they're ring-shaped breaded minced onion.

Chip in with your examples.

Posted by Ted at 05:45 AM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

March 14, 2007

What?!? No Artificial Phlegm? Believe Me, I Even Checked Google.

Did you know that they make synthetic saliva? My wife Liz recently started using it on her doctor's recommendation because one of her new medications just sucks the moisture out of her mouth.

Saliva is a vital component of such everyday processes as tasting, swallowing, speech and digestion, and its absence is what leads to dry mouth. A reduction in salivary flow can occur for a number of reasons, but medication use is a key contributor.

I love that "duh" statement above about [saliva's] absence is what leads to dry mouth. Even so, it makes sense to have developed synthetic saliva.

Of course, in our family we call it "pseudo-drool" or just "fake spit".

(mental note: brownie-flavored saliva for dopers...niche market but has potential)

Posted by Ted at 05:14 AM | Comments (2)

March 13, 2007

Apropos of Nothing

pmf.jpg

Posted by Ted at 05:31 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

March 08, 2007

That Chekov, He's A Funny Guy

Anton, not Pavel.

Posted by Ted at 05:00 AM | Comments (17) | TrackBack

March 06, 2007

Weakling

I've been fighting a cold for almost a week now. Tomorrow I *have* to be at work, so I called in today to get some much-needed rest. Mmmmmmm... Nyquil.

Posted by Ted at 09:16 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

March 04, 2007

Mid-Sen...

I cringe when I hear about people who are "writing the last chapters of their lives" or similar sentiments.

Bullshit.

I don't care how old I get, my life story (like anyone would ever actually write it, let alone read it) would be going along great guns and then abruptly end in mid-sentence.

Because if yours doesn't, then you wasted at least some of the precious gift that life is. Or even worse, you gave up too soon.

Posted by Ted at 08:22 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 28, 2007

Heads Should Roll

Someone, somewhere along the line, seriously screwed up with my laptop. I took it in to the repair shop today because it no longer recognized the CD-ROM drive. I should get it back, good as new, in two weeks.

The warrantee doesn't expire for another month and a half.

Posted by Ted at 08:28 PM | Comments (27) | TrackBack

February 25, 2007

Perfect... Bah!

Although the forecast has been changing constantly for the last couple of days, what was supposed to be sleet and rain turned into over four inches of wet, heavy snow.

Power was out for not quite two hours (I took a nap), and it looks like it's warming up a little bit now. Not a good thing, if it all re-freezes overnight. Tomorrow morning is looking to be a lovely commute.

Posted by Ted at 02:49 PM | Comments (22) | TrackBack

February 22, 2007

Maximizing Your Sports Entertainment Dollar

Last night my beloved San Jose Sharks were in town to play the Washington Capitals. You may recall that my wife had gotten us a pair of tickets for the game and gave them to me as a Christmas present (quite kick-ass, I must say).

In the extended entry is the low-down on the evening, for those so inclined to read all about it. But here I'd like to point out the odd coincidence that of the last three hockey games I've gone to, each has gone to overtime and then a shootout, and each time the team I wanted to win did just that.

If you'd like me to attend a hockey game for your favorite team, I'm sure we can arrange something.

I left work a little early yesterday so that I could drive home and pick up Liz. The plan, which worked almost perfectly, was to park in Rosslyn (I have a monthly pass), metro over to the Verizon Center early enough to have some dinner, and then enjoy the game.

We were hoping that Victor would be able to join us for dinner, but he got stuck at work and we didn't see him until the break between the first and second periods.

Before I get to the game itself, I'd like to tell you here and now that I don't have a lot of good things to say about DC, but one thing that they do right is the metro. Schedules and weather conspired to keep us from doing a dry run beforehand, and I was a tad concerned about how smoothly it would go since we'd be using metro for the first time with her in her wheelchair.

We hit a snag immediately upon entering the first metro station, namely, that after using our fare cards to get through the turnstiles, we were confronted with four escalators leading down. No elevator in sight. We asked the station employee in the kiosk about where the elevator was hidden and found out that the elevator is located across the street from the station! His solution was practical, we exited the station, crossed the street, took the elevator down to the station proper and at the turnstiles I just manually opened them up and we walked through. This set off an alarm, but he was expecting it and immediately shut it off. No problem.

This is typical of my experiences with metro. They aren't about fussing, they're about solving the problems you have, immediately and with minimum hassle. Every time.

Even other passengers on the trains were cool about our circumstances. Because of the design of most chairs and the station platforms, the best way to enter and exit the trains are backwards (to keep from throwing one of the little wheels in front). Sometimes that involved clearing a space on the platform to swing around, or even on a train full of commuters. Not one complaint and nothing but cooperation. Thanks commuters, y'all did yourself proud.

The seats at the arena were awesome. We sat in the handicap row, which meant a comfortable folding armchair for me and a gap for Liz to park her chair. We were right up against the rail, so the view was unobstructed, even when folks in front of us stood up (like during the shootout). We were a little higher than the rink glass, and just behind the goalie's left shoulder, giving us a long view of the ice. I love sitting at the side of the rink, but seeing the game from the end gives you an appreciation of how much crosswise movement goes on. Try it sometime for a different point of view.

As for the game, what can I say? The Caps jumped out to a quick two goal lead. My beloved Sharks came back to tie it up and in overtime Nabokov stonewalled Ovechkin and Semin before Cheechoo tossed a backhander high over Johnson's shoulder to win it.

I was pleasantly surprised to see many Sharks fans there, way more than I expected. That was the common thread, as my wife (and others) pointed around and said "see, you aren't the only one here tonight".

The ride home was long and slow, thanks to interstate construction, and my butt is definitely dragging today after way too little sleep. Well worth it though.

Thanks Liz, for one of the bestest Christmas presents ever!

Posted by Ted at 11:32 AM | Comments (171) | TrackBack

What The Hell Was That About?

This morning in the parking garage, I'm walking towards my exit when a young man in a little car pulls into an open space in front of me. I don't know if he's showing off or what, but he hits the gas halfway into his turn and smacks head-on into the concrete wall behind the parking slot.

I asked him if he was all right and got glared at for my trouble. I was tempted to ask him where his mental handicap hang tag was.

Posted by Ted at 05:44 AM | Comments (29) | TrackBack

February 21, 2007

Early Spring? (Updated)

This morning on radio traffic, I heard about an exploding manhole that had traffic blocked downtown. This is unusual for two reasons. First, this normally happens in Georgetown, not downtown proper, and secondly it's too early in the season for exploding manholes. This isn't supposed to start until springtime.

I've never heard of such a thing happening in any other city. Is this just a local phenomenom?

Update: Rob, over at Left & Right, is the man to see about DC's 'sploding manholes.

Posted by Ted at 05:50 AM | Comments (39) | TrackBack

February 09, 2007

Not That There's Any Chance Of It Happening...

If I were elected Pope, I'd change my name to Methusela I.

It couldn't hurt.

Posted by Ted at 11:08 AM | Comments (313) | TrackBack

February 08, 2007

Valentine Tip

If you're planning a quiet evening watching a movie together, don't pick War of the Roses.

Posted by Ted at 05:49 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

February 06, 2007

Philadelphia Is At Full Strength (And You Still Suck)

Spent an eventful weekend visiting Robyn and her new husband Henry. Well, that was the excuse, anyways. The real reason we travelled to Norfolk was for minor league hockey.

Liz discovered that President Bush was going to be visiting Williamsburg on Saturday, which is right on our way. In order to avoid any potential traffic problems caused by security around the decider-in-chief, we took an alternate route which made for a beautiful drive through the countryside.

After spending the afternoon visiting, we headed downtown to see the Norfolk Admirals play the Philadelphia Phantoms. This was Henry's first live hockey game.

The people at the arena (Scopes?) were really nice, but I was truly pissed off about the accomodations for the handicapped. We wound up on the lower parking level, and the only way to the entrance was to go up the vehicle ramp, where we almost got run over by a cop! He was insisting that there was an elevator, and we were insisting that the damn thing was inside a locked foyer and not accessible. Once inside, the staff listened to my complaints and did their own check and sure enough, the parking elevator was locked up. Odd thing is, nobody there had a key to unlock it, because it was mainly for the adjoining theater. I can't believe that they've never encountered this situation before, and it took me a while to calm down.

So anyway, game time. The Admirals are in the middle of a great season, so the arena was better than 3/4 full. They're a farm team for the Chicago Black Hawks, and we enjoyed spotting the various incarnations of the Admirals uniforms from years past. They've changed logos a couple of times, and back a few years ago their team colors were blue and gold, which made for really good looking jerseys. Now they wear Chicago's red, black and gold.

I'd heard that minor league hockey had been tamed. No fights, no hitting. Let me tell you, NOT TRUE! In the first few minutes of the game two guys dropped their gloves, threw off the helmets and went at it. As usual, the refs waited until they fell to the ice in a heap to break it up. After the next face off, two more guys did the same thing. The place was going wild! There were a couple of scrums later on and quite a bit of pushing and shoving, but that was it for the fights.

As for hitting, there were some hellacious hits. Norfolk is a smaller and faster finesse team but they dished out more than they took during the game.

My biggest problem with the Admirals is that they tended to make one pass too many. I screamed myself hoarse to put the damn puck on the net as they repeatedly passed up shots to try to make the perfect set up. As expected with minor league hockey, the skill level was a shade below what you're used to seeing in the NHL. Passes just missed, or if they did hit the tape weren't controlled well. Lots of "oops, forgot something" moments as they frantically hit the brakes and tried to reverse to gather up a missed puck.

No matter, the game was fun and we'll be doing it again soon. I wish we lived closer, because season tickets would be great. Oh yeah, lower section tickets were $16.00. Can't beat that. The title of this post is a combination of what was announced as a Phantoms player left the penalty box - "Philadelphia is at full strength" - the crowds hollered response each time - "AND YOU STILL SUCK!". Cracked me up.

The Admirals came back from two down to tie it up 3 all. No score in the overtime, and the Admirals took the shootout to win it.

On Sunday, Liz and I stopped at Williamsburg Pottery on the way home. This place is amazing, like a super-duper yardsale/flea market/k-mart/dollar store/nursury. Laid out in a sprawling jumble of buildings, you can easily spend hours there just looking around - and we did. Imagine your local craft store, which is probably pretty large if you're near one of the big chains. Now imagine that store if it sold nothing but baskets. That's one department at Williamsburg Pottery. Cool place. I picked up some smoked salt and rice vinegar in the gourmet section, along with a few other odds and ends for the kitchen.

So all in all we had a very enjoyable weekend.

Heh. I just heard from Robyn, who was up early doing homework after Henry left for work. He wants to go to the hockey game this Friday.

Posted by Ted at 06:01 AM | Comments (345) | TrackBack

February 05, 2007

Three Things That Piss Me Off

Later I'll get a chance to tell you about our wonderful weekend, but for now, in no particular order:

1. Charities that don't pick up when they say they will. You called and asked if we had anything to donate. As a matter of fact, we did. So, per your instructions, we packed up two boxes of stuff, put signs on them and set them out by the curb. Your people didn't bother to come by and the wind made short work of the plastic we'd covered the boxes with, so now tomorrow the trash guys get to haul off two soggy boxes of crap. Next time you call, you're going to get an earfull along with a request to take us off your calling list.

2. Did you know that a black coach won the Superbowl? Yeah, big whoop to most of America, both black and white. Thanks though, to those idiots who repeatedly whacked me over the head with the diversity shit all night long. Broadcasters (2a. Phil Simms is an annoying ass) and advertisers alike. In this day and age, we're supposed to be past the race thing. Note it once and get over it. By the way, congratulations to both Tony Dungy and Lovie Smith for getting their teams to the big game. Y'all are tops.

3. Rascal Flats. To me, their music sounds manufactured, like they're the Back Street Boys of country music. I was flipping through the stations this morning and heard their version of "Life Is A Highway" from the movie Cars. Gack. I'd rather listen to the Laurence Welk version, it would have more soul. I think I know where the Menudo rejects go when they reach puberty.

Posted by Ted at 05:20 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

February 02, 2007

Happy Groundhog Day!

Have a great one.

Posted by Ted at 06:10 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Happy Groundhog Day!

Have a great one.

Posted by Ted at 05:23 AM | Comments (17) | TrackBack

Happy Groundhog Day!

Have a great one.

Posted by Ted at 05:10 AM | Comments (24) | TrackBack

January 28, 2007

Doktor, It's Moving... It's ALIVE!

That would be me. There has been lots going on so far this bright and shiny new year, both good and otherwise, and free time in order to crow and/or gripe about it here at Rocket Jones has been drastically reduced.

As the new routine settles in, I'll probably find more time to write. I realize that I've posted excuses for not posting twice now in January, believe me when I say that they're a good way to bump up the ol' productivity stats.

Posted by Ted at 10:23 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

January 22, 2007

College Mess Halls

You always know you're in trouble food-wise when you meet this scenario:

Day 1: Stuffed shells.
Day 2: Stuffed Shells
Day 3: Pasta Bake... And they don't even bother cutting the stuffed shells up.

Posted by Mookie at 10:18 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

January 15, 2007

Rocketry Links

Just some hits I've noticed over the last week or so...

Doug Pratt mentions an apparent shortage of Pyrodex pellets. Pyrodex is a black powder substitute used by muzzle-loader enthusiests that isn't regulated nearly as strongly as the regular stuff. We use the pellets to pre-heat the fuel grain in our hybrid rocket motors. I need some, but haven't been looking too hard (WalMart hasn't had them though, which is unusual around hunting season). Good thing we can get them through Amazon. Gotta love it.

Zoe Brain links to some cool history of the space program you might never have heard of, the UK space program.

Just because Rutan and crew won the X-Prize doesn't mean the other competitors packed it in. Check out the latest test flight video from the Blue Origins team.

JohnL has links for Blue Origins too.

What goes up must come down. EDog has video of a Russian satellite that re-entered the atmosphere and broke up over Colorado.

Rockets are cool. Check out these links and you'll see for yourself.

Posted by Ted at 07:00 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

January 14, 2007

Vacation (updated)

The wife and I are off for a week or so. Our original plan worked to perfection, we made reservations in four places geographically far apart, so that if a blizzard hit the midwest, we'd go north. If one of those innumerable killer hurricanes hit New England, then we'd head south. Nor'easter? No problem, we'd vacation inland.

Once the weekly weather was examined, we cancelled three sets of plans and are headed to Atlantic City (second choice, actually) for shopping, gambling, and lots of doing absolutely nothing. Our hotel does have high speed internet, but I really shouldn't use my laptop from the in-room hot tub, so I'm not sure how much you'll hear from me.

Catch ya later.

Update: Liz still amazes me. We checked into the hotel, got settled in and then went to a casino for a while. We had a nice dinner and then I watched (as usual, I seldom gamble) as Liz played the nickel slots and walked away with $300. She plays for fun, but it's always more fun when you win.

Posted by Ted at 04:54 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Laugh Now, But When The Giant Intelligent Cockroaches Rule the Planet...

An excellent observation from Brian J Noggle.

Posted by Ted at 11:44 AM | Comments (18) | TrackBack

January 13, 2007

Bore Me Like Beckham

That popping you felt in your ears was caused by the massive collective yawn of America.

Posted by Ted at 11:36 AM | Comments (64) | TrackBack

My Baby Loves Me Thiiiiiis Much!

I haven't mentioned the bestest Christmas presents I got, both from my wife. She ordered a large San Jose Sharks embroidered logo from the NHL shop, and then sewed it onto the chest of a super-comfy fleece hoody (in black, of course). It looks goooooood.

And where would a fan wear his cool new hoody? Why, to the hockey game on February 21, when my beloved San Jose Sharks come to town to play the Washington Capitals, of course! We'll be in section 116, row U. Wooot!!!

Posted by Ted at 11:31 AM | Comments (11) | TrackBack

January 10, 2007

I. Am. A. Tur. Tul.

I hurt my back last Friday, and I've been moving at 33 1/3 in a 78 world ever since, trying to keep up. Unfortunately, life hasn't been overly cooperative, so what little free time I've had this week has been spent catching up on things that could be put off a little while, but not indefinitely.

Look for an upcoming movie review or two, and posting frequency will increase as I get back up to speed. You've been warned.

Posted by Ted at 05:30 PM | Comments (6)

January 04, 2007

test (updated)

test

Hmmmm, weird. On some browsers (including my IE at work) the posts are all empty boxes down to halfway through the Japanese Movie Monster post. On others, everything appears to be fine.

The only change is the new banner up top, so I'll be digging through the ol' template to look for clues.

Posted by Ted at 06:12 AM | Comments (12) | TrackBack

January 02, 2007

Only in America

Some TV show came on yesterday that touted the ten worst extreme ski accidents or some such. Near the top of the list was a guy who basically fell over three cliffs as he careened down the face of a mountain. It was ugly, and his unconcscious body finally slid to a stop almost a minute later and several hundred feet down from where his tumble started.

The announcer stated that the guy suffered multiple severe lacerations and had "shattered" his leg in three places. Then, in the next breath, we're informed that just eight weeks later the skier was back in competition. I guess it was a minor shatter.

Next, they have an interview with the guy. I'm paraphrasing here because it was so incredibly stupid that I couldn't believe what I was hearing.

I wasn't worried about extreme skiing again because, I mean, I'd fallen off a mountain. What are the odds that it would happen again, y'know?"

We live in a society where you can make a career of being a Darwin Award candidate.

Posted by Ted at 08:46 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

December 31, 2006

Banner Courtesy of Mookie

As usual, Mookie gave Dad uber-cool presents for Christmas. The banner above shows a few of the figures from the Horrified B-Movie Victims Figure Set.

Posted by Ted at 06:22 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

December 28, 2006

Kroo-deh-TAY

We commoners call it a relish tray or just veggie snacks, but the proper term for it is pronounced just like the title above. I'd heard the word, I knew what it meant, but I'd never seen it spelled out before.

I now take great pleasure in pronouncing it phonetically.

Cruddites.

Posted by Ted at 04:51 AM | Comments (31) | TrackBack

December 27, 2006

Me, Naughty?

The family was very, very nice to me this year.

The Rocket Jones movie library increased by several, including Jack Nicholson's Goin' South (one of my all-time favorites), the exploitation classic I Spit On Your Grave, several oldies (some starring Bela Lugosi) and including the wonderfully abysmal Santa Claus Conquers the Martians, and Universal's Wolfman Legacy Collection. I also wound up with the complete television series Buffalo Bill.

In print, I got the Zombie Survival Guide, and for my listening pleasure Frank Zappa's ThingFish.

More later. Been busy marrying off my kid and all, don't'cha know.

Posted by Ted at 07:49 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

December 21, 2006

God Bless Us, Every One

Merry Christmas to all, and may you have a safe and wonderful holiday!

This will probably be the last post before Christmas. Tomorrow morning we pack up and head down to Norfolk. Saturday is daughter Robyn's wedding, and on Sunday morning the whole wedding party will be travelling back to our house for Christmas Eve and Christmas day, at least. Lots of celebrating, lots of cooking and eating, joy and all that happy crap.

See y'all next week.

Posted by Ted at 12:25 PM | Comments (14) | TrackBack

December 20, 2006

What Goes Around Comes Around

A trite saying that has more than a grain of truth to it.

A few nights ago there was a murder up the street. A guy that I'd seen around (he owned a lawn-care business) was shot and killed in the middle of the street. Details were sparse, other than that he was shot in the back of the head.

This bothered me for obvious reasons, but mostly because it seemed so random. We live in a pretty good neighborhood. A robbery didn't make sense since he was shot in the back of the head. Drug dealing was possible, and gang related violence wasn't inconceivable, but something about the whole thing just didn't add up.

Until yesterday, when the local paper finally published their story. Long time readers may remember back in 2003 when we had another murder about six doors up from our house. It was probably over drugs, but the gist of it is that two guys walked up to the living room window and shot the wrong guy inside to death. Then they jumped into a car driven by a third guy and sped away.

All three were caught, and the two shooters are serving looooong sentences behind bars. The driver did some sort of plea-bargain thing with the cops, and did little, if any time.

You know where this is going, right?

The guy murdered the other night was the driver of that car. Knowing that, the story seems less random. Maybe it was payback, that's certainly a plausible motive. And in an odd way, it has actually eased my worries some.

Reap what you sow. Home to roost. Goes around, comes around. Those aren't just quaint, empty phrases.

Posted by Ted at 05:09 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 17, 2006

No Profiling Here

sniffsniff.jpg

Posted by Ted at 05:07 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

December 16, 2006

Snippet

A recent exchange after I did a little online Christmas shopping.

Me: Honey, I just bought some stuff online. Don't look too closely at it. (she handles the banking)

Liz: How much did you spend?

Me: One hundred ten dollars and change.

Liz: Whoa, that's a lot!

Me: Well, porn is expensive.

Liz: So is a trip to the emergency room if you aren't kidding.

I love my wife.

Posted by Ted at 09:07 AM | Comments (14) | TrackBack

December 12, 2006

Test Test

Link Test.

Posted by Ted at 06:45 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

December 05, 2006

"I don't understand any good reason to defend Walmart on philosophical grounds"

Thus begins a comment to a post I made back in February of 2005, titled "WalMart is the United States of the Retail Universe".

And then, one morning, I get this:

I don't understand any good reason to defend Walmart on philosophical grounds. Maybe if you own the hacienda you have the free time to think of bogus arguments to defend your villainy. Then one day the workers find other uses for the tools.

Now, I see several ways to respond to this. But the simplest is to say, "Fuck off, commie."

(Note: this was an old post that's been sitting in my "draft" folder for a long time. This morning, I'm in the mood to finish it.)

Posted by Ted at 05:41 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 03, 2006

Meet Java

Java is an 11 month old female rabbit that we're taking care of for a while.
Java.jpg
Beautiful, isn't she? She's a sweetheart too.

We hope that her and Fred will take a liking to each other and become a bonded pair. For now she has her own cage and they're getting used to each other gradually, through the mesh of an exercise pen. Java is a bit bigger than Fred, and almost as large as our little dog, Trix.

Once Java and Fred become buds (they're both fixed, so there will be no little surprises), then they can move in together and then we can begin to foster-care for another bunny or pair. The animal rescue group that we're working with, Bunny Lu, does outstanding work and last year placed 105 rabbits in permanent homes. Unfortunately, they've got more rescued rabbits than homes, and it's just getting worse, which is why we volunteered to temporarily keep a couple more on an as-needed basis.

So far, so good. Her appetite is definitely there (she's eats a lot more than Fred), and that's a good sign. She also plays more with toys, whereas Fred is mostly the explorer type. From what we've been told, Java is somewhat of an escape artist and a jumper, so we're keeping her in a 4 foot tall exercise pen during the day to keep her from going up and over. Her and Fred and the dogs have been checking each other out through the mesh of the pen, and there've been no problems.

A year ago I had no idea that my wife had always wanted a rabbit, and now we've got two with plans to board more. Life is strange. If you're lucky.

Posted by Ted at 08:14 AM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

November 29, 2006

Confession Without Guilt

November is almost over and I've accomplished not a single damn word on either of my NaNoWriMo projects. Giant Evil Space Robots remain locked inside my skull and the other story awaits some literary breathing space.

Where I work now, my normal schedule is cyclical. I have a very busy week, followed by an insanely busy week. That rhythm is broken only during the rush leading to the turnover of the fiscal year, with a lull - such as it is - until the rush at the end/beginning of the calendar year. This year there was no letup. The ramp-up started in mid-August and we haven't slowed down yet.

Professionally, it's been fun. It's certainly not been boring. Add in the many things that have been going on in our personal lives, and Rocket Jones has been neglected. At some point, things will calm down a little and I can get back to tending my little garden of inanity like I used to. Until then, this place hasn't been abandoned, even though the posting frequency is way down.

"Always leave 'em wanting more." Someone famous said that. Maybe Linda Lovelace. I forget.

Posted by Ted at 09:44 PM | Comments (1331) | TrackBack

November 25, 2006

Childish Enough to Think This is Funny

The world is never surreal enough to suit me.
trash pile.jpg
My idea, my photoshop (neither of which is all that).

Posted by Ted at 09:27 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

November 20, 2006

Cringe-Worthy Tattoo

I laughed, but then, it's not my child.
monkeyshines

Posted by Ted at 04:27 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

November 19, 2006

Too Damn Clever For My Own Good

I just saw a commercial on TV for a one-message digital recorder. As usual, the entire commercial is snark-worthy, especially how everyone using the audio reminder nods and smiles as they listen to themselves.

But it dawned on me that this little wonder is the ultimate in lazy-assed remote control. Just record yourself clapping, and then you can play it when walking into a room and all your clapper-attached lights will go on. Oh, wait. They already have something like that. It's called a light switch.

Posted by Ted at 11:48 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

I might have paid extra for that

Liz exercised her woman's perogative (translation: she changed her mind) about the dining room set we had selected, but not yet purchased. Her reasoning was sound, and I was gracious and understanding when I found that we would need to go out for more furniture shopping (translation: "Again? Jeez, I thought we... Fine. Whatever. Get your coat. Of course I'm not mad. Am I acting mad? Well, no, I'm not mad.")

We had a good laugh at one store when the saleslady informed us that they offered "midget delivery". I cracked up, knowing that I couldn't have heard that right, and Liz translated the accent for me. "Midget delivery" equals "immediate delivery". Now you know.

Posted by Ted at 09:39 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Blessed

It struck me that I've been rather fortunate in my life when it comes to seeing legendary sports figures in action. I grew up in the San Fransisco bay area (long before it became the silly-con valley) and saw Willie Mays, Juan Marichal, Willie McCovey and others play at Candlestick. Bobby Bonds too, who was a phenominal talent in his own right, before his son became all that written in all capital letters, italicized, underscored and possibly asterisked (depending on your viewpoint).

Across the bay there were the Oakland A's of Rick Monday and Reggie Jackson, Vida Blue and Rollie Fingers. I saw them during their year of the big mustache, and they were colorful even without the kelly and gold uniforms. I saw Rod Carew, Tony Oliva and Harmon Killebrew when the Twins came to town.

On the lower pantheon of legends were Charlie O'Connell, Joanie Weston, Ann Calvello and Alvin Mallory of Roller Derby fame. Do a little googling, and then tell me those guys (and gals) weren't amazing.

Back in SF was Joe Montana and Jerry Rice (after a long and painful drought when the Niner's weren't very good) and Darryl Lamonica, George Blanda and Ken Stabler (to name only the QBs in silver and black) led an always entertaining cast of misfits and characters which existed as one of the most successful sports stories for almost three decades.

Now living in the Washington D.C. metro area, we've had the treat of seeing Michael Jordan in his post-Bulls days. Still legendary, and although diminished it wasn't enough to tarnish the career.

Baltimore offered us Cal Ripken and Eddie Murray, both of whom I shall tell my grandchildren about.

And now, much like those fortunate enough to live in Edmonton during Gretzgy's reign, or Pittsburgh while Mario was on the ice in his prime (or the Steelers during the *spit* "Steel Curtain" *spit* years), I have the opportunity to see a very rare talent in action. I got to see Alex Ovechkin play hockey for the Washington Capitals live last year, and countless times on local television. Folks, if he comes to town, take advantage and see this kid play. Amazing, and it's not hype to say that he belongs with the legendary names mentioned above.

I need to snag tickets for the Caps/Penguins for the chance to see Ovechkin and Semin, Crosby and Malkin playing all at once. That's one for the ages, and happens not too rarely thanks to hockey scheduling.

For the record, I dislike Sydney Crosby for no real reason other than the fact that the NHL handed him the throne before he played a single minute on the big ice. He's earning star status, but not *the* star, and I find it hilarious that he's been referred to as "Captain of the Canadian Diving Team". Hopefully, he'll be whistled for some penalties that will disabuse him of that shoddy habit, but I worry that "the star" will come to expect calls to go his way as he tries to draw penalties. Anyway, he's exciting to watch and a genuine talent and I don't like him. Maybe I'll mellow in time, but I'll for sure go to see him while I have the chance.

Posted by Ted at 07:15 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

November 12, 2006

A Little Good Goes A Long Way

This weekend my wife and oldest daughter Robyn bought their dresses for the upcoming wedding. Instead of a long, drawn-out ordeal travelling from store to store looking for *the* dress, each found what they were looking for at the very first places they went. For an occasion like this, you don't mind spending the money (Liz and Robyn were a little afraid to tell me what the wedding dress cost, but when they did I was relieved because it was much less than I had prepared myself for).

That's the good.

On Friday, the kitchen floor people came out and removed the new floor that they had botched. Somehow, somewhy, when they moved the stove to get at the floor underneath, instead of removing the temperature probe from the oven, they took the readout from the counter and tossed it inside. That night, I went to preheat the oven and was almost overcome from the fumes as that plastic readout unit melted and made a huge mess in the bottom of my brand new oven. A half hour of scraping and scrubbing got it out, but I was *not* a happy camper.

Yesterday the subfloor guy showed up to fix the problem that contributed to the screwed up installation of the floor. He had given me a ballpark estimate of the cost based on what we could tell him because he didn't want to cut the floor up ahead of time. He was concerned that with Liz on a cane, it would leave him open to liability if she tripped on it. He came highly recommended by several people, and I was prepared to fork over the top end of his estimate, while hoping it would be closer to the low end.

No such luck. After an hour of looking at what needed to be done, I finally asked what it would cost to do the job right (instead of the cheaper mickey-mouse alternatives that we'd been discussing). I knew what really needed to be done, but he didn't want to have to say it.

Ouch.

Well, it's done. It's beautiful, as much as a sub-floor can be beautiful. He was a craftsman, as carpenters go, and in the end the new floor will be better for it. Tomorrow the kitchen people show up again and install the new floor. That part of it (removal and install new) is free for us, because they goofed the original. Liz will be watching like a hawk, because she's still pissed that it had to be redone. Plus, now she knows what a good job should look like.

So we've spent our 3-day weekend with more contractors making a mess in the house, and spent way more money than was originally planned, but that's ok. Robyn's wedding dress is absolutely beautiful, and Liz is gorgeous in her new dress.

Posted by Ted at 11:01 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

I Am A Simple Man

There are 3 shelves tucked into each back corner of our shower, and this morning I noticed something.

My wife has two shelves for her various bottles. My son has a shelf with two bottles. Rachael has a shelf with multiple bottles, even though she's away at school. I have a single shelf, with a single bottle of shampoo. The dogs have a single shelf, with a single bottle of shampoo.

Means nothing, but I'm glad that the dog's shelf and mine are nowhere near each other, lest some half-awake morning I wind up citrus fresh and flea-free.

Posted by Ted at 10:34 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

November 10, 2006

Voting

If you did, thank you. You recognize that our freedoms come with responsibility.

Posted by Ted at 07:45 AM | Comments (18) | TrackBack

November 06, 2006

Believe it

This morning on the radio there were two different reports of deer being hit by cars. By coincidence, last night I was watching part of the Blue Collar Comedy show and heard this bit:

You want to hunt deer? Here's my suggestion: take the bullet, slow it down to 55mph and put headlights and a horn on it, and I promise you, the danged deer will jump in front of it.

I think he's on to something.

Posted by Ted at 06:04 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Getting to be a habit

Last night I installed Apache, PHP and MySql on yet another PC in the house. I also added Komodo because it's an editor that I'm used to. Every time I do all this, I wind up swapping machines with some other family member because they need the newer features on the one I'm using. At this rate, I'll be looking for versions that run on Windows 3.1.

Posted by Ted at 05:37 AM | Comments (25) | TrackBack

November 05, 2006

Cloning has been considered

That idea was rejected after considering what it would do to our grocery bill.

Whew, where to start? It's been busy busy busy lately. Here's a suggestion, if you meet someone who works in your payroll group, and you've been paid lately, buy them lunch or give 'em a hug or oral sex or something. Trust me, these folks have earned it!

On the home front, Liz just got back yesterday from a week in Norfolk with oldest daughter Robyn. My life has consisted of work, coming home and cooking, and then falling asleep in front of a hockey game or one of my beloved crappy horror movies. It isn't often that it takes me three evenings to finish watching an hour and a half movie.

Not much beyond that, I guess. Too busy to blog. Too busy to *write*! My NaNoWriMo ambitions this year were completely wiped out by about 9am on November 1st. I do hope to still do some work for the Giant Evil Space Robots anthology (is that still on?).

So hang in there, and I'm doing the same. Posting will resume on a regular basis just as soon as the lithium kicks in as is practical. I've been surfing a bit and reading y'all, if you don't notice, it's because I wipe my feet before coming in. Mama taught me right.

Posted by Ted at 07:59 AM | Comments (0)

October 23, 2006

Economy-Sized Cujo

The youngest dog got a haircut today. Desperately needed, he was starting to look like the love child of a rastafarian dust mop and a gordian knot. So Liz sat down, shortened up his leash, and had at it with the scissors, electric trimmer and shop vac.

At some point the goofy mutt took a snap at the scissors as Liz worked, and got his tongue cut. Bled like hell for a while, and he drove Liz crazy as he wanted to give himself a bath, leaving himself a bloody mess.

That was all done and over with by the time I got home, or so we thought. As I cooked dinner, I looked down at the dogs and saw Trix sitting there in a puddle of smeared blood, one paw looking half chewed off. Once again, his "bath" opened the wound and he recreated the "bucket at the prom" scene from Carrie.

We've got brand new carpet in the house, remember?

I snatched him up like a football and scrubbed like hell with a dishrag to clean him up as best I could. Then I took him upstairs into Liz's sewing room where he doesn't mind hanging out, is gated to keep the rabbit in, and has old carpet on the floor.

When he kisses you, he smells like blood.

Posted by Ted at 07:14 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

A Good Year For Tomatoes

On Sunday morning I "winterized" the front yard, which included the season's last mow and edging and cleaning up the flowerbeds. I also harvested the last of the veggies that we grew this year as an experiment.


end-of-year-tomatoes2006.jpg


Click to see "abodanza!" size.

Folks, this is the last harvest from *one* tomato plant, *one* cherry tomato plant (grown in a flowerpot), and *one* jalepeno pepper plant. We probably got close to 200 tomatoes from that one plant, and I did nothing more than water it fairly regularly. No fertilizer, no insecticide, nada. As such, I estimate the loss rate to hungry bugs and stuff to be around 40%, and when I picked a tomato and found it to be unsuitable for the table, I dropped it on the ground as bait/decoy and eventual fertilizer.

Figure a hundred each from the cherry tomato and jalepeno plants, and it was a bountiful year around here, and the neighbors enjoyed it too.

Still, come Spring I'm planting boxwoods. The HOA was on my case about the veggies in the front yard, and the garden was a whole lot more work than a few small shrubs. Oh well, it was fun (and tasty) while it lasted.

Posted by Ted at 05:08 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

October 15, 2006

*whew*

It has been a whirlwind of life around here lately.

Liz has had to take a leave of absence from work. She still cannot drive, let alone work, so we have become a one-income family again. We've been seeing many specialists, and they've ruled out a lot of really scary things that might have happened. We still don't have an answer - which is frustrating - but they've been introducing new medications (slowly, always slowly) and adjusting current ones, looking for that magic combination that will bring her back to normal. Or as close as possible anyway.

At work, we've had the fiscal year thing happening. Working in a finance-related field, you can imagine that it's been chock-full o' adventure and happenstance.

The home remodel is 95% complete. It's down to details, details, details. On Monday the floor people come out to figure out how they're going to fix the kitchen floor, because they botched the job. It's going to have to be redone, and they accept that, but unless better prep-work is done correctly, it'll just happen again.

Some touchup painting needs to be redone, some finishing trim installed, and of course lots of putting stuff away. I've been cooking like crazy this weekend (yay! finally!!!), and it's all harder because I don't know where anything is. As I get used to the new layout I won't have to hunt down the stuff I need, I'll just instinctively turn to it. We like it very very muchly though.

The new carpet and furniture is beautiful. The living room has looked like a cemetary all weekend because it's Fall Break at Rachael's school, so she brought some friends home with her (hence the cooking spree), and they're sleeping en masse in the living room. Yes, I'm living "Standard Male Fantasy #11 - House Full of College Girls".

I'm about three weeks away from being able to slow down, but I've gotten into a nice groove about things, so instead of being hectic and frantic I just stay steadily occupied from 4am (when I wake up for work) until 8pm or so (when I decide the day is done and unwind for a bit before bed).

Pictures of the house to come.

Posted by Ted at 07:25 AM | Comments (15) | TrackBack

October 10, 2006

Not Pining for the Fjords

Just been insanely busy. Maybe this weekend, if not before.

Posted by Ted at 07:48 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 01, 2006

Very productive weekend

After yesterday's accomplishments, today I fixed a leaky drain in the upstairs bathroom sink, put half the basement back together and removed the old toilet in the downstairs bath so the floor guys could do their thing.

Mike, the friend that helped with the laundry sink yesterday, bought a new pickup.

Posted by Ted at 06:00 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

5am and I'm awake again

No dreams this time. I got up to close windows because it's raining and damn near tore a toe off kicking a box sitting along the upstairs hallway. That's way exagerated of course, because nothing is broken and no blood is leaking, but it's still throbbing and I'm pissed off.

What's with the freaking rain, anyway? All week long we heard about how beautiful the weekend was going to be. It drizzled much of yesterday and now rain overnight. Stupid weatherman.

Look at me, I'm a whiny little bitch.

Posted by Ted at 05:12 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

September 30, 2006

Very Tired yet oh-so-content

Big day around the ol' homestead.

I woke up from a nightmare at 5am and couldn't get back to sleep. I haven't done that in a long time, but dreaming that you're about to be ripped apart by a pack of wild dogs with no chance of escape kind of shakes one up, ya know? No biggie, because the alarm was set for 6am anyway. I had things to take care of before the cabinet guys showed up at eight.

Guess who *didn't* show up again today? If you said "[expletive deleted] electrician", then give yourself a cookie.

I made sure that the dogs were penned up out of the way and let the cabinet guys into the house. They were in for a long day, because they have to be done before Monday when the floors get done. As soon as they arrived I took off to run a couple errands, one of which was picking up some plumbing parts for a leaky sink drain upstairs.

When I got back, I found out that my neighbor Mike had called. We had sort of made plans to install a laundry tub in my basement today. He was ready to do it, so we headed out again, right back to the big generic hardware store and then to it's equally big generic hardware store competitor across the street. Before long I had purchased a sink, faucet, and more various plumbing bits.

Mike does this stuff for a living, so I was looking forward to learning something new. In just a few hours we had rerouted the washing machine drain, installed and plumbed the sink, tapped into the hot and cold lines and run new to the sink and relocated the washing machine. I also made another run to the hardware store for a length of copper pipe and also found the lint socks I needed.

The aforementioned lint socks were the reason for this whole exercise. Our basements have a floor drain but no sump, and every couple of years the drains clog from the lint that flows out of the washer with the rinse water. By routing the washer drain into the laundry sink, I could fasten a lint sock to the end of the hose and it would catch all that soggy fluff and keep my drain from clogging. The lint sock looks kind of like a chainmail condom (probably $15.95 from Adam & Eve), and attaches to the hose with a zip tie. After two loads of laundry, there is already visible crud that was captured. Every month or so I'll throw it out and put a new one on, they cost about a buck apiece.

I did make one more run to the hardware store for an extension length of washing machine drain hose.

The cabinet guys were here until 7pm, and one of them will be back tomorrow for a while to finish with the last couple base cabinets. I sent a bag of tomatoes and jalepenos home with them tonight. My neighbor Mike got a bag too.

In totally unrelated news, one of the dogs has horrible gas. We're talking EPA-alert caliber dog farts. We think it's the new dry food they're eating. The plan is to switch back to the old stuff and see if that helps, because I keep expecting guys in white hazard suits to burst into the house and start to decontaminate the whole area.

Part of my movie order arrived today! Expect some reviews in the near future. Cringing won't help, stop being such a wuss.

Posted by Ted at 09:04 PM | Comments (20) | TrackBack

Poe in the modern day

Found in one of the bulletin boards I visit:

Once upon a midnight dreary,
while i pron surfed, weak and weary,
over many a strange and spurious site of ' hot xxx galore'.

While i clicked my fav'rite bookmark,
suddenly there came a warning,
and my heart was filled with mourning,
mourning for my dear amour,

"'Tis not possible!", i muttered,
"give me back my free hardcore!"
..... quoth the server, 404.

404, even more evil than 666 according to some.

Posted by Ted at 05:56 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

September 29, 2006

A Beautiful Day in the Dramahood

When yet another post about our kitchen renovation just doesn't seem worth the effort, I have to do nothing more than step out onto the front porch to be inspired.

The very beginnings of last night's thunderstorms were rolling in (the worst of it brushed by to our west, there were tornados north of us as well). I was taking out the trash and saw a couple neighbors standing outside. They filled me in on the fun-in-progress.

Seems that the guy living across the street was teaching his daughter/wife/girlfriend (unclear) how to drive. As she was coming down the street, she hit two parked cars. Hard. Hard enough to knock the bead of a truck's tire off the rim. As she tried to back out, she almost hit a couple more parked cars. By this time, someone had come running out of their house and was yelling that they'd better not move that car. The police were called.

Two large groups of people stood around under umbrellas in the rain for several hours, first waiting for the police to arrive, and then as each told their story. As the cops finally drove away, the groups glared at each other from opposite sides of the street. This may not be over.

PS. My phrasing "large groups" may sound odd, but is explained by the fact that both groups are hispanic. I've noticed that the homes in our neighborhood that are owned by hispanics tend to have a lot of people living there. That is merely an observation.

Posted by Ted at 05:32 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

September 28, 2006

Renovation: No Electricians Were Strangled During the Writing of this Post

There are electrical wires dangling from holes in the walls and ceiling of our kitchen! Yay!

If bees leave curses, we are so screwed. More on that farther down, after the boring crap that you couldn't care less about.

Today most of the rough-in electrical work was accomplished. Of course, this means that the drywall crew will be here again tomorrow to patch all the various holes that must be cut when running wire. As a consequence, the cabinet installation will now start Friday and be finished Saturday, no matter how long it takes.

Bright and early tomorrow morning the electrician will arrive to finish up his bit on the main floor, and then descend to the basement level to swap out the main electrical panel. Wire has already been run for that, so it's a straight exchanging of parts that should take about four hours.

One interesting discovery was made by the electrician downstairs. He cut a couple of holes in the ceiling in order to run the wire to the panel, and over by the back wall of the house he discovered honeycomb. Old honeycomb.

Years ago, we had a bee problem where the little bombers were crawling into a crevice around one of the outside window frames, and into the wall itself. We'd have bees in the house all the time and couldn't figure out where they were coming from, until we finally we caught several emerging from behind some interior window moulding. I leaned down to look closer and my hand went through the drywall and into a beehive. They were as surprised as I was. We quickly blocked the hole by covering it with a large trash bag taped to the wall, and then plans were made. I started off by fogging the hell out of the opening of the hole, and then leaving the fogger on inside to get to as much of the space as possible. We closed it up again and repeated several times over the next day. As the bees left in a hurry, we found the spot on the outside frame that they were using to enter and I fogged that entrance too. Next I caulked that entrance up good and tight.

I wound up replacing a good two foot square of drywall where those bees had eaten the back away until it was damn near paper thin. When I cut the wall away, hundreds of dead bees fell out. No more problems after that.

So our walls are full of old honeycomb and thousands of mummified bee corpses. Lets just hope that we don't have the insect equivalent of those WWII Japanese island soldiers still living in there, waiting for their chance to get even.

Posted by Ted at 05:15 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

September 27, 2006

One hand clapping

Have you ever imagined a world without hypothetical situations?

Posted by Ted at 05:22 AM | Comments (50) | TrackBack

Renovation: Vocabulary building edition

Let's play a word game! I'll give you four words and four people. You can match them up. What fun!

1. Livid.
2. Enraged.
3. Bewildered.
4. Missing.

A. Wife.
B. Prime Contractor.
C. Electrical Contractor Dispatcher.
D. [Expletive Deleted] Electrician.

Lots of work done yesterday. None of it involved electricity in any fundamental way.

The kitchen, dining room and bathroom drywall is finished. The kitchen and dining room are now painted (except the trim). The floor is fixed where the old walls were and the heat/air vent is relocated.

Everyone is waiting on the electrician now. Nobody knows why they didn't show up yesterday, not even their boss. Cabinet and appliance installation has been delayed by a day, and will now take place Thursday, Friday (and Saturday if needed).

Liz raised hell with the appliance people. Our refrigerator was backordered and so I set up the delivery date for just that on October 10th. When Liz called to confirm that everything else would be delivered yesterday, they told her that the fridge wouldn't be available until later in the month. We just gave away our old fridge to one of the construction crew, so this wasn't acceptable. After dealing with Liz for a while, they magically "found" a refrigerator in their warehouse for us. Same model, same options, same style. They even delivered it yesterday with the rest of our stuff.

I wonder if someone else is wondering where their fridge is. It's probably bad juju on me, but right now I don't care.

All the cabinets were delivered and are now stacked all over the living room. Installation must wait for the [expletive deleted] electrician. The dining room is full of shiny new appliances.

I'm trying to keep a good humor about this, because really, it hasn't been too awful bad. If this goes on another day though...

Posted by Ted at 05:05 AM | Comments (422) | TrackBack

September 26, 2006

Renovation: Much promised, some delivered

On Saturday Liz and I went out to the prime contractor's showroom to pick out a nice piece of granite for the bathroom vanity. While we were there, we discussed the upcoming schedule and changes caused by the [expletive deleted] electrician and our floor fiasco.

On Sunday the new floor guy came out and took measurements and gave us an estimate. The estimate was within our budget, enough so that we were able to replace *all* the carpeting in the house instead of just the main floor and one stairway. They can't do the kitchen/dining room/bathroom/foyer install on Friday like we were hoping for, but the crew will be out Saturday and finish up on Monday. Carpet will be done in a couple few weeks.

The [expletive deleted] electrician didn't show up again today. Turns out he called in sick and nobody bothered to let us or the general contractor know. So tomorrow (hopefully) the electrical work on the main floor will be done and on Wednesday the main panel gets switched out.

Today was more drywall work. The drain pipes in that wall got re-routed. The bathroom floor was taken up and the existing vanity removed. Partly because the schedule is slipping and partly to save a few hundred bucks, we gave the go-ahead to just paint the kitchen and dining room walls white instead of the blues we had picked out.

I patched nail holes in the stairwell heading to the basement, and will probably start in on the ceilings tomorrow in the stairway, hall and living room.

Tomorrow is going to be a big day all around. The cabinets get delivered (but have to be set in the dining room while the [expletive deleted] electrician does his thing. Which is going to cause the drywall guys to have to re-do some of their work, which means the painters will have to re-do some of *their* work. The appliances are due tomorrow too.

There's a reason why you hire a general contractor to deal with the individual tradesmen, and this is it. We're staying on top of things, and every time we talk to the general contractor we have a list of questions and issues. But this guy is paid to deal with the scheduling crap that happens with every project, and as far as I'm concerned he's worth every penny (and he's earning it too!).

I wish it wasn't happening, but it is kind of reassuring to see the pros go through the same kind of unexpected project futz that we do-it-yourself'ers do. There's nothing more annoying than getting into the middle of something, and then having to run back to the hardware store to pick up a part that you didn't know about or expect to need.

I'll keep blogging the renovation progress, as much for us to look back at in the future as for you to be enthralled over. Heh, right.

Posted by Ted at 05:00 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

September 23, 2006

What else would you call it?

Liz was telling me about this television commercial selling a swivel seat that fits in your car (something like this). It's a great idea for the elderly or handicapped people who can't easily swing in and out of a car seat. I mentioned "captain's chairs" and she explained that what she saw is a cushion that sits on the regular seat, and only the cushion pivots, not the whole car seat.

There's only one thing you could call it: the "Lazy Ass Susan".

Posted by Ted at 04:22 PM | Comments (925) | TrackBack

Renovation: Day 2 Progress

I don't have the camera handy, but the pictures aren't all that interesting so I don't want to hear a bunch of clamoring and whining.

Every project has unexpected glitches and gotchas, and day 2 was our day full. For progress, drywall was put up to cover the places where the ceiling and wall used to be, the pantry entrance was opened up, and the dining room carpet was removed. Also, work sorta started in the bathroom in that the medicine cabinet was carefully removed. I'll be recycling that to the other bathroom, because it's in better shape than the one upstairs.

As for the problems, most of them are minor, and all are already dealt with. The electrician goofed up his schedule and couldn't come out on Thursday and Friday as planned. He'll be here Monday to get started by replacing the main panel for the house.

The plan for those two drain pipes in the pantry entrance wall is even better than the one I expected. They're going to lower the joint to almost floor level and reroute both pipes back flush to the main wall. They'll still protrude, but not very much, and the cabinets can be modified to hide them.

The biggest problem was with the guy we were working with to do the floors. He screwed up big time. He lost all of our paperwork, so not only doesn't he know what we picked out, but none of it got ordered. The estimates and orders all happened a few months ago, and what with the packing up the main floor, we can't find our copies either. On top of that, he suddenly can't meet our schedule. Very unprofessional.

Last night Liz and I went to his place of business to straighten things out. He wasn't there and couldn't be located (out on a call - "somewhere"), and his clerk was the singularly most unhelpful person I've ever dealt with. We walked out and went looking for an alternative.

We did find one. We found equivalents to what we wanted from the other place. The guy will be coming out Sunday morning to do the measurements and give us the estimates. He *might* be able to do our schedule (ideally, kitchen floor installation happens next Friday), but because this is so last minute we'll understand if it can't happen right then. Carpets will get done in a few weeks.

Cabinets get installed starting Tuesday, and appliances show up then too (except for the fridge, which will show up two weeks later - backordered). Countertop templates happen on Thursday, floor on Friday (fingers crossed) and that's all written in sand.

We're making progress, and this is the normal kind of scheduling problems that I expected, so we're not stressing too much about it. In fact, every time we run across one of these little speedbumps, we just look at each other, grin from ear to ear and say, "we're getting a new kitchen!"

Posted by Ted at 04:46 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

September 21, 2006

Renovation: Day 1 Progress

These guys ain't fooling around. I got home from work to find all the cabinets out and gone, the wallpaper stripped, walls removed and kitchen floor taken up.

Where the peninsula and soffet *used* to be

I told you that the cabinets there were going into the basement. Thanks to our prep work clearing the move path, those cabinets were in the basement less than half an hour after they started.

Looking into the pantry

The dining room carpet is still there, and as you can see that little odd pantry opening is still there. Like all renovations, you always run into something unexpected, and this one is ours (if this is the only one then we're getting off lucky). There are two drain pipes in that odd little wall that nobody knew were there. If building codes allow, I expect that they'll lower the pipe joint about six inches to fit beneath the countertop height and fit the cabinets around it. That's my guess anyway, we'll see what the experts come up with.

For all the progress made, the room (and house) is remarkably clean, almost as if they vacuumed and dusted afterwards.

Posted by Ted at 07:14 PM | Comments (146) | TrackBack

Not really funny, but...

After years of hearing the radical vegetarians telling us that red meat will kill you, I wonder how many see the irony of bad spinach knocking off a few folks.

Posted by Ted at 12:07 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

September 20, 2006

Renovation: And so it begins

After months of planning, our renovation began today. Last night we finished moving the last of the kitchen/dining room stuff out.

Here are the "before" pictures, pop-up style.

Kitchen side

Dining Room side

This peninsula of cabinets shown in these first two pictures creates a pass-through bar between the two rooms. It's outta here. The floor cabinets and countertop are going into the basement to replace a couple of old card tables that we've used forever for folding laundry. You'll notice the square holes in the soffet, those were cut by the contractors to see what was inside the wall before finalizing plans to remove it.

Kitchen from the pantry

Here's a shot down the length of the kitchen from the pantry. The fridge will be moved so that it'll be directly to your right from where this picture is taken.

Pantry

In most houses with our floor plan, this room is a big ass pantry. The previous owner did this to the doorway and put a small built-in table and benches for a nook for his kids to eat. They had three sets of twins, so they needed the space. We converted it back into an open pantry as shown here.

The plan is to completely open it up so that there's no "doorway" left. The new cabinets will extend into the space and around the back wall, creating a butler's pantry. Lots of countertop space for things like the food processor and bread machine too. The fridge will be sitting to the left of the opening, with a new cabinet next to it.

I took more pictures this evening of the first day's progress. I'll post 'em tomorrow night.

Posted by Ted at 09:06 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

September 19, 2006

Now you've gone and riled him up

Actually, I get the same way when I see a Patrick Swayze movie.
Bub: Official Undead of Rocket Jones

Posted by Ted at 07:45 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

I'd say there's a link

On the radio this morning, I heard about a new CNN/Money magazine poll that measured the "smartest" cities in the US. Washington DC came in at number four, based on the percentage of degrees and the number of colleges and universities in the area (45% bachelors and 34). There's a lot of talent involved with government (yes, there is. Be nice.)

Raleigh/Durham, North Carolina came in at number 3. San Fransisco is number 2 and Seattle is number 1.

I don't know about Raleigh, but it doesn't surprise me that the two biggest moonbat concentrations are products of our esteemed institutions of higher learning. They keep telling the rest of us how much smarter they are, and we're just too dumb to realize it.

Explain to me again why it's bad that North Korea can reach the west coast with their missiles?

Posted by Ted at 05:09 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Dear BillyJoeJimBob

On this morning's commute, I was dazzled (literally!) by the stunning number of lights on your pickup truck. Headlights, foglamps, lightbar across the roll cage, corner markers, and others too numerous to count.

And as you drove down the road, each of these lights pointed in a different direction, making your vehicle look like a 70's-style disco ball on wheels. Your lane was illuminated. The lane on either side of you was illuminated. The shoulder of the road was lit up. You shined into my rear view mirror. Heck, you shined into mirrors two lanes over.

Maybe that was your intention. Maybe you spent time carefully adjusting each and every light for maximum coverage, so that everywhere you drove, you were enveloped in a giant ball of blinding glare.

I think though, that the simpler explanation is probably true. You're just an idiot.

Posted by Ted at 04:54 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

September 17, 2006

("Bell" - "bee" + "aitch") + ("Nose" - "ess ee")

The Return of Nog Watch.

Me: You know, I was thinking...

Wife: Uh oh.

Me: Well, we're getting a new refrigerator, and I thought that it would be the perfect chance to resurrect Nog Watch.

Wife: No.

Me: It was one of the most popular Rocket Jones features.

Wife: No.

Me: Think abo--

Wife: No.

Sorry. I tried.

Posted by Ted at 07:49 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

September 13, 2006

Not True!

Liz calls my PDA the iPorn.

Posted by Ted at 04:49 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 12, 2006

27-zip ?!?!?!

The Oakland Raiders got stomped by the San Diego Chargers last night. After watching that pathetic performance, I'm trying to figure out the best spin for it. Should the Raiders claim that they're coming off a bye week or that their season starts next Sunday?

Posted by Ted at 05:11 AM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

Fair is Fair

There's a political ad playing on the radio where someone is writing to their local congresscritter about American factory jobs moving overseas. You know the kind, where you hear a keyboard tapping while the "citizen" reads his words aloud as he types.

In this one, they want a representative who will "demand" that China, India, and a couple of other countries all stop subsidizing their industries in order to steal American jobs.

Maybe as a good faith gesture, we should close all those Honda, Toyota, Hyundai and Volkswagen manufacturing plants in the US. After all, we're stealing jobs from their workers.

Posted by Ted at 05:05 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

September 01, 2006

Ernesto, so far

We've had worse winds, but seldom for this extended length of time. The rains haven't been terribly heavy, but they've been steady.

I've gone out back to lift a large tree branch off of the back fence, and there's an even bigger one out there now that I'll have to saw in half to move. I don't feel like standing out in the rain with the saw, and it's straddling the fence, not actually on it, so it can wait until Sunday.

Mother Nature is saving me big bucks by bringing down that Maple piece at a time. At some point I'll have to hire a tree company to take down the main trunk, but it'll be like taking down a telephone pole at this rate.

I noticed another big tree snapped off about 30 feet up down by the creek. Ernesto must be muy offended because I called him a wuss.

Posted by Ted at 05:31 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

August 24, 2006

Harvest

The salsa garden is going great guns. Cherry tomatoes enough for my tomato loving daughters, plus enough regular tomatoes to give away half and still have plenty. The green peppers have been disappointing, but even those have been good if not overly abundant. Jalepenos? Muy bueno!!!

Last weekend (two weekends ago?) I spent a little quality time in the kitchen and made a gallon and a half of salsa. A good sized container full for my neighbor, who's been helping me with a couple of household projects, and another for daughter Robyn that she took with her back to school. That left more than we could use, although we tried, including a breakfast of heavenly veggie salsa omelets.

Tonight I picked a large tomato and a couple of nice jalepenos and made guacamole. Mmmmmmmmmmmmm.

Posted by Ted at 08:55 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

August 16, 2006

Speaking of odds

The baseball world is agog at the Los Angeles Dodgers, who've now won seventeen of their last eighteen games. What people seem to have forgotten is their equally remarkable streak just before that, when they lost thirteen out of fourteen.

That makes them 18-14 in the last thirty-two games. Big whoop.

Posted by Ted at 05:10 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

I'd take those odds

You know that 1982 Ford Econoline van with the twelve ladders strapped to the top? Yeah, with seven guys riding inside. Doing the speed limit, while everyone else on the road passes them left and right. Yeah, that one!

Deport them.

Posted by Ted at 05:00 AM | Comments (0)

August 14, 2006

Blockbuster

With the recent phenomenom of hit Broadway musicals set to pop and rock artists like Abba and Billy Joel, I'm imagining something slightly more surreal...

...something like Jeffrey Dahmer's life story, set to Loggins & Messina.

Opening scene, music comes up as "mom" and "dad" arrive home from hospital carrying their new baby:

People smile and tell me I'm the lucky one,
And we've just begun...

Later there can be a scene reminiscent of Risky Business, where a grown Jeffrey dances his way around the kitchen in his underwear, bopping to "Your Momma Don't Dance" as he restocks his fridge and freezer (if you know what I mean).

Closing scene. An ordinary house in a quiet neighborhood, lit by flashing police lights. A crowd of people stand around out front, wondering why that nice young man was arrested. And the closing music gradually rises over the people's murmering voices:

Oh, help me if you can, I've got to get,
Back to the house at Pooh Corner by one,
You'd be surprised, there's so much to be done,
Count all the bees in the hive,
Chase all the clouds from the sky...

If you use this idea, I expect "Concept by:" credit.

Posted by Ted at 05:09 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

August 11, 2006

Bottom Line

The good guys defeated the terrorists yesterday.

A lot of people who would've died are going to live.

Posted by Ted at 05:18 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

August 08, 2006

Synergy again

The Dixie Chicks cancelled 14 shows on their US tour due to poor ticket sales.

The Dixie Chicks don't like President Bush.

Cindy Sheehan just bought property near the President's ranch.

She could hold an anti-Bush concert there featuring the Dixie Chicks! It's what, 5 acres? That's probably big enough to hold all the fans, including parking.

Posted by Ted at 06:12 AM | Comments (1029) | TrackBack

Round room. Pee in the corner. You've heard it before.

Ever notice how when a new housing development is going up, if it's Something Estates then it's ritzy and pricey, and if it's Whatever Heights then it's always "affordable" housing. If I had the money, I'd do a development called Estates Heights just to see what would happen.

Posted by Ted at 05:55 AM | Comments (398) | TrackBack

August 07, 2006

Found those 3D glasses yet?

Quite some time ago (we're talking years here), someone posted a whole bunch of 3D photos to the vintage newsgroup that I subscribed to. I created a subfolder for them, downloaded 'em all, and promptly forgot them.

A few months ago, I purchased one of my beloved crappy movie collections and discovered that you could watch each film in either regular 2D or 3D versions. Cool! I mentioned to my wife that I needed some red and blue acetate to make a pair of glasses, and then forgot about it.

Last week (isn't this exciting?) my wife was travelling and found a pair of 3D glasses. Did I want them? You bet.

Alas, the movies are filmed in some "new" 3D technology and require special electronic glasses that are rather expensive for the amount of use I'd get out of them. The company is putting out some new collections for their 3D, but I have better things to spend my money on.

Then I remembered those old 3D photos I'd saved... somewhere. I found them, and now I get to share some of them with you.

Here are the first few. Each photo will appear in a popup window. Make original size for best effect. The naughty ones are labeled as such, so don't go blaming me if you open them up at work (although why you'd be looking at 3D pictures at work is beyond me, you look like a dork in those glasses).

Enjoy, and remember, most of these are vintage.

Miscella Misclean Miscillanious Various.

Insert your own family reunion joke

Sports photos.

Baseball, St. Louis Cardinals, too much work to positively identify

So real you can almost smell the armpits

Bikini alert!

Ole!

Well, half a bikini

At the beach

Like ViewMaster for Adults! (Rated R - not safe for work)

This one is my favorite


Grandma was a kinky wench! Apparently yours was too.

Warming oneself at the stove

Hot date tonight

Spectacular view, and the mountains are nice too

There are plenty left, so if you're interested in me posting more of these, let me know in the comments or by email.

Posted by Ted at 04:18 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

August 06, 2006

Potential Disappointment

I know some of you have been eagerly looking forward to the movie Snakes On A Plane, but my lawyer tells me that we'll probably be granted our injunction to prevent the release because the studio stole my original idea for Snakes on a Blog without due compensation.

I will admit though, that including Samuel L. Jackson is an improvement over my original idea of inviting Michael Jackson, Jackson Browne, Reggie Jackson and Jackson Pollock to be my co-bloggers.

On advice of my lawyer, I admit nothing.

Posted by Ted at 07:43 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

August 03, 2006

Heads Up

If you've got an old pair of those goofy 3D glasses somewhere, you might want to find 'em.

Just sayin'.

Posted by Ted at 05:25 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

I have no idea

beats me, and no, that's not an invitation

Well, *that* was amusing. I attempted to translate the title using babelfish and found out that "La Calandria" is Italian for "The Calandria". Imagine that...

Posted by Ted at 05:09 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

August 02, 2006

Fair Warning

Rocket Jones will be making the switch to the new Minx comment system in the next day or two, so if comments get wonky you'll know why. Drop me an email to let me know if you're having any problems.

Posted by Ted at 05:03 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 31, 2006

The Opera

Friday night we saw The Merry Widow, as performed by the Ash Lawn Opera Company. We had an excellent time. For those who don't know, our daughter Rachael is working as an Assistant Costumer for the summer season at Ash Lawn.

From the Albemarle County* website, here is a brief synopsis of the story:

In this delightful comic operetta, Anna, the Pontevedrian widow, finds herself in France surrounded by suitors interested in her impressive estate. Her native country, facing bankruptcy, is concerned that she will choose to marry a foreigner, and her money will be lost to the little country. Join us to find out who Anna marries.

The performance was excellent. One of the female leads had a beautiful voice, but not the projection needed for an outdoor venue, especially since no microphones are used. Other than that, the comedy was funny and the singing was wonderful.

As for the costumes, what Rachael (and the other assistant) did for the first act was mostly "dressing up" old prom dresses to turn them into ball gowns. They also made petticoats for the ladies and did alterations for the guy's tuxedos. Their most impressive work for the first act was the lead's ball gown, which they made from scratch. It was elegant and intricate and beautiful.

The second act was where that had all the fun. They created can-can dresses for all the ladies, and Rachael made frilly garters and, as she put it, "added lace to a bunch of granny underwear"

From the information page at the county website:

The Ash Lawn Opera Festival is recognized by Money Magazine as one of the top-20 international warm weather summer opera companies, boasting "first rank talent, full summer programs and lots of nearby culture". Established in 1978, the Festival, a member of Opera America Inc., presents opera and musical theater sung in English and performed in the beautiful Boxwood Gardens of Ash Lawn-Highland, home of President James Monroe.

This area of Virginia is beautiful and full of history. Besides many vinyards and wineries, Monroe's Ash Lawn, Madison's Montpelier, and Jefferson's Montecello are all in the immediate vicinity. These three founders of the United States were neighbors and good friends.

Turning into Ash Lawn, you find yourself travelling a mile long drive underneath the overarching canopies of magnificent oak trees lining the road (I think they were oak). There are tours given of the grounds, and several of the original buildings have been restored. I must mention the gift shop, in that it's the most reasonably priced shop of its kind that I've ever encountered.

The theater grounds open early, and many folks show up early with picnic baskets. The stage is set in a natural amphitheater and is surrounded with tall hedges. I was surprised to learn that the area seats 300 or so, and since there are only eight rows, nobody is far from the stage. The seats themselves are comfortable, cushioned chairs. There is a smaller, emergency "rain stage" and covered pavilion where the show moves to if the weather doesn't cooperate.

Like I said, it was a very enjoyable evening.

*According to Rachael, Albemarle County was for a brief time the largest county in the United States. The original charter for Albemarle lay the western edge of the county at the "island of California". Presumably, someone who could read a map later amended the charter.

Posted by Ted at 05:29 AM | Comments (44) | TrackBack

July 28, 2006

Crap. Why didn't anyone tell me?

If you click on the sidebar link for the PDA compatible version of Rocket Jones, you now actually get the updated PDA compatible version of Rocket Jones instead of the old and non-updated pages.

Posted by Ted at 06:00 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 27, 2006

Hella Snooty

Tomorrow evening, my wife and I shall attend the opera.

Posted by Ted at 03:27 PM | Comments (4)

Are we still allowed to do Polish jokes?

You heard about the Polish suicide car bombers?

Ten of 'em crowded into a minivan and blew themselves up when someone walked by.

Posted by Ted at 11:36 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 25, 2006

No Surprise Here

This morning on the radio news, the reporter starts the story off with this:

Even though no weapons of mass destruction have been found in Iraq...

The story went on to report that about half of Americans polled believe that Saddam had WMD's.

I dunno, maybe it's because we've found 'em. Not the massive stockpiles we thought were there, but enough have been found that could have caused thousands of deaths.

Now the news source is CBS, which makes bias a real possibility (gee, ya think?), but it could also be sloppy writing. Especially since the report ended with:

Five hundred chemical weapon artillery shells were discovered earlier this year.

Maybe it depends on your definition of "mass".

As a followup, I went to their website to look for contact information. I thought that a little feedback was needed, about how such obviously biased half-assed imprecise news reporting didn't reflect well on their credibility.

Wanna advertise with them? Email *here*. Reporting a traffic incident? Use *this* email. And so on, a whole page of contact information.

Oddly, the only contact without an email address is their news director.

Posted by Ted at 05:24 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

July 24, 2006

This post contains no links to video

.

Posted by Ted at 03:01 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

July 22, 2006

Maybe not the most original joke...

AmBsk8itKoI7.jpg

"...und mit superior German engineering we can place a small vibrating unit inside which we believe will become very popular. I hope that answers your question, Doctor Johnson."

Posted by Ted at 08:58 AM | Comments (0)

July 21, 2006

Blasphemous Fun

My wife and I were at the supermarket this evening, and as we were loading the groceries into our car, a mini-van passed us.

It was hard to miss the giant lettering across the side and rear windows:

"Glory of God Cleaning Services", along with a phone number.

I looked at Liz and said, "We clean like the devil!"

She said, "We'll scrub the hell out of your house!!!"

I said, "Christ Almighty, that sparkles!!!!!"

We chuckled all the way home.

Posted by Ted at 08:03 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

They say snacking is bad for you

They don't tell you that it's true whether you're the snacker or the snackee.

trust me kid, you want to stick with the soft drinks

Mmmmmm, now I'm hungry.

Posted by Ted at 11:45 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

I'm frikkin' Emily Post!

Heh.

Posted by Ted at 04:52 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

July 20, 2006

Bondsmas?

It doesn't have quite the same ring as "Fitzmas", but it amounts to the same thing.

After recent widespread speculation that Barry Bonds would be indicted today for everything except robbing churches in his spare time, he wasn't.

But don't worry, because the prosecution will just call another Grand Jury, and another after that if needed, until they find one that will indict this stain upon humanity and make America safer for... uh... newspaper reporters who write books based on leaked (confidential) Grand Jury testimony.

I think.

Posted by Ted at 05:47 PM | Comments (4)

July 17, 2006

What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas...

My favorite vacation photo, as I jostle elbows with celebrity.

Ted and Pat at the wax museum

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Vegas Baby! (part 3)

Part 1 is here and part 2 is here.

Even if you don't gamble, there's plenty to do in Las Vegas. I'm not talking about things for kids, because as hard as they try to make it family oriented, I don't really think it's all that great a place for a vacation with the kids. You can run through the kiddie stuff in two or three days, including the zoo and the Leid Children's Museum. On the strip, there's the Excalibur which caters to families, and at the other end of the strip is Circus Circus with their "largest indoor amusement park in the world". Other than that, Vegas is pretty much an adult town.

I spent three full days visiting various attractions and museums using my "Power Pass". This little gem got me free admission (well, free after paying for the pass) to a whole heap of cool places, and if I went back next week, I'd get another 3-day pass because there's that much more that I didn't have time to visit. Liz got the 1-day pass, and we spent our anniversary doing things that both of us wanted to see.

I spent one morning visiting the very cool and highly recommended Atomic Testing Museum. Did you know that the US has conducted almost 950 nuclear tests? Not all were for weapon research either, as there were tests done for medical research (as in "nuclear medicine"), for business and industrial research, and of course for pure scientific analysis. One interesting test happened in the 1980's when a tower was erected that was the height of the detonation of the bomb over Hiroshima. At the top of the tower was placed an unshielded nuclear reactor that mimiced the radiation output of that first bomb, and underneath a series of Japanese structures were built using WWII-era construction techniques and materials. The objective was to measure the level of radiation protection provided by the various buildings in order to help Japanese doctors treat the long-term health effects of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki survivors.

If you look here, every crater is the site of an underground test, where the surface collapsed onto the dome of the chamber where the device was detonated. The engineering and geology behind the test chambers is explained, and the resulting radioactive leftovers from the tests wind up buried hundreds of feet underground in brilliantly conceived and designed self-sealing pits.

The museum wasn't all rah-rah and "go team". All in all it was a fairly balanced look at the testing done in the area, both good points and bad. There was a section on the local indigenous peoples and how the testing affected them (they were forcibly removed by the government when the test range was created) and what the land means to their cultures. This part of the museum was created with the cooperation of the local tribes (Shoshone and one other I can't remember offhand).

You learn the what and the why, but also the how. They put a lot of history out there to experience, and place it in context of the times. Did I say highly recommended? It's worth repeating.

Our hotel, the Luxor, offered free admission to the King Tut Museum and the In Search of the Obelisk ride as part of the Power Pass package. The "ride" was ok, if a little hokey. Most of it is a movie shot with a special technique that makes it look very real to life. It was difficult to distinguish between the actors on the screen and the live people who're part of the show.

The King Tut Museum is a recreation of King Tut's tomb. You get one of those new audio wands that all museums seem to be in love with nowadays, and it tells you interesting things about what you're looking at, which is good. It also tells you when to move along and look at the next thing, which is bad. These were nice because they had a pause button. When they don't, I get fed up quickly and ignore them.

Anyway, the tomb exhibit shows the four rooms of treasures found back in the 1920's by Howard Carter. A lot of details are pointed out, so you really get the significance of what you're looking at, rather than just the jumble of Egyptian stuff. Interesting, but very quick to go through.

Fifth Vegas Tip: Most attractions are not worth the admission price, but they are worth seeing. Either remind yourself that you're on vacation and don't sweat it, or get one of those discount packages.

The Luxor also features an IMAX movie theater (at single ticket prices cheaper than the Air & Space in DC). I plunked down twenty bucks for a three show package and saw "Journey down the Nile", "Magnificent Desolation" in 3D, and "The Sea" in 3D. The first movie was excellent, the second (about the space program, how could it be bad?) was pretty damn good and the IMAX 3D was wonderful (no funky red/green glasses, these used some sort of polarizing effect). The last movie though, gave me a headache. Maybe it was just too much movement for 3D or my glasses didn't fit right or something, but I could've done without the fish. It also got preachy about ecology and conservation, which I'm sure everyone pondered that evening as they wolfed down lobster and crab legs at the buffet.

Let's see... what else...

The Venetian and Bellagio both have museums built into the premises. At the Bellagio was a fine exhibit of and about Ansel Adams, again with the annoying audio wand (completely ignored by me).

The Venetian had a display of Ruebens and Van Dyke oils, amongst other contemporaries. I was given an audio wand for this one, but I lucked out and caught on to a live tour. Unfortunately it didn't last long because although the guide had interesting things to say, her voice made me want to stick pencils through my eardrums. I finished seeing the exhibit sans guide and almost completely without the use of the magic talking stick.

The Venetian also features Madame Tussaud's Celebrity Wax Museum. Unlike any other wax museum I've ever been to, here you are invited to touch and pose with the figures for photos. Mookie saw the one in London and said it's the same way. I wish I'd been forewarned, so I could have taken a sign that said "Noo-Klee-Err" and held it up while posing with President Bush at the podium. Oh well. Spilt milk, eh? They also offer a side-trip through a mini-house of horrors that isn't very scary.

At the Mirage is Seigfried and Roy's Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat, which was pretty cool. They don't do shows, per se, because this is a research facility that allows folks to watch and help pay the bills. The staff has frequent "interactions" where they feed fish to the dolphins and the dolphins do all kinds of tricks and stunts. You know, just like a show. You can get very close to the action, and there are several underwater windows to see what's going on from below.

The Secret Garden half is full of tropical plants and several large areas full of sleeping lions and tigers and alpaca (!?!?!?!).

Hey, you're a Star Trek-lovin' geek, right? If so, you're in luck! The Las Vegas Hilton features the "Star Trek Experience". It's chock-full of memorabilia from all the various incarnations, and as you go through it you're accompanied by a long-ass timeline that ties events from the whole shebang together. When you're done with the static displays, you get to choose between two exciting adventures, something about the Borg, and something about the Klingons. Your admission gets you into either and both (it's an all-day pass), but I only had time to do the Klingon side. It was hokey but not too bad, and did have some funny bits and actual thrills. In our group were two ladies who had no idea what the hell was going on, so they were cracking jokes about how stupid everything was. I contemplated putting on my earnest face and becoming the "dedicated Trekkie" to explain the error of their ways, but they were pretty funny and I could tell that they were already annoying the real trekkies in the group, which I enjoyed.

My shining moment came at the end when you're offered a chance to buy a photo where your face is placed into a group shot of the Star Trek crew of your choice. When they asked which crew was my favorite, I said "original series" and quicker than you could stomp a Tribble, there I was with Kirk, Spock, Sulu and the rest. Only one problem... I complained bitterly that I was in a red shirt, and there was no way I was buying a picture of me knowing that I was nothing more than "the guy that dies".

That brought some laughs from the other folks, and I noticed that after me everyone picked "next generation" or one of the others.

Before you leave, you can stop in at Quarks bar and restaurant and have a bite to eat. If I have to explain, you wouldn't get it.

So far, everything I've mentioned here was free with my power pass (except for the IMAX movies). Among the other things I could've seen for free was the Las Vegas Zoo, the top of the Stratosphere tower, Elvis-A-Rama, the Liberace Museum, a half-day tour to Hoover Dam, the Museum of Natural History, the Las Vegas Art Museum, "Lost Vegas" Gambling Museum, the Circus Circus amusement park and much much more.

The limiting factor for most of these (besides time) was transportation. I got ripped off by a cab driver who stuck me for eleven bucks for a six dollar ride, and after that I was leery about using them. More than one local warned me about them as well. Almost all of the things I did were on the strip, so you could walk or take the monorail.

Sixth Vegas Tip: Make sure you have plenty of ones and fives on hand for tips and taxis. The scumbag cabbies will claim they can't make change.
Seventh Vegas Tip: There are two monorails on the strip. The first is at the extreme south end and connects Mandalay Bay, Luxor and the Excalibur. These three are all right next door to each other and are also connected by covered walkways. You never need to ride this monorail.

The second monorail starts at the MGM Grand (south end of the strip, across from Excalibur) and goes north. The last two stops are a block east of the strip at the Convention Center and the Hilton. Rides are five dollars, two for nine dollars (up and back), or fifteen bucks for the all day pass. This is a nice system, and worth the money if you don't feel like walking miles up and down the strip in the heat.

Eighth Vegas Tip: From the Hilton, you can grab a shuttle bus to the Freemont District, which is like a mini-strip. This was where all the action was when Vegas was just getting started.
Other things to do include (as Shank mentioned in previous comments) renting a machine gun for some quality time on the target range, learning to drive various high performance vehicles (both racetrack and off-road), and Madalay Bay has a wicked-cool Shark aquarium.

And that's not to mention all the free stuff you can do...

Next time.

Posted by Ted at 04:48 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Because rabid animals aren't enough

Every year, after the number of exploding manhole covers eases off a bit, our area goes through a wave of rabid animals, both wild and pets. Oh, and plenty of Lyme-ridden ticks. Can't forget them.

This summer, just for fun we've added mosquitos with West Nile Virus. Confirmed.

Oh joy.

Posted by Ted at 11:41 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

July 16, 2006

You can't rush some things

Translation: I finally got around to swapping in the new style sheet.

Still some tweaking to do.

Posted by Ted at 02:57 PM | Comments (605) | TrackBack

Vegas Baby! (part 2)

Part 1 is here.

The question was, if you don't gamble, what the hell are you doing in Vegas?

Three words, my friend: Shows. Food. Attractions. Shopping. Sightseeing.

That was more than three words? Yes it was, and it's the perfect demonstration of why I don't gamble. I'm smart enough to know I'm not smart enough to handle the math. And Las Vegas is built on math.

As a quick aside, I love the psychology and social engineering of casinos. One of the easiest table games to understand is the "Big 6" wheel. It's a giant vertical wheel, with dollar amounts on each click. On the table, you place your bets on matching dollar amounts. Maybe half the wheel is populated with ones and pays 1:1 - bet a dollar, win a dollar. A third of what's left on the wheel is twos and pays 2:1, a third of what's left is fives and pays 5:1, and so on with tens and twentys and sometimes the dreaded "0" and "00" like roullette. So you plop your chips down on what you think will come up and they spin the wheel and money is won and lost. Very simple to understand and very fun to play.

This table also features the worst odds in a casino.

That's the math part, but I also mentioned the psychology. I once watched several busloads of tourists unload and enter a casino, each with a voucher for ten or twenty bucks in chips as part of their tour package. As they came through the bus entrance, the first thing they saw was the Big 6 table, staffed by two friendly, engaging people who were more than happy to exchange those vouchers for chips. I kid you not, more than half of that "free" gambling money was drained off of an incoming group by that table before the folks ever set foot into the actual casino. Sometimes the percentage was even higher than that, and eighty percent would be a reasonable estimate. And the people had fun, and what the hell, it was "free" money that they were losing. Brilliant.

Aside over.

One of the highlights when you visit Las Vegas is the shows. We'd already gotten tickets to see Penn & Teller, who're most recently noted for their cable TV show Bullshit.

Their Vegas show actually starts an hour earlier than all the billboards state because when the doors open an excellent two-piece combo - piano and upright bass - plays for the first hour. After every song, the piano player asks everyone in the audience to come up on stage and sign this giant envelope which is later used in the show. He's got this perfect breathy MC voice thing going, and the pitch is sly and funny.

"If you don't come up and sign this envelope, you will feel disappointment, and that's a sad, unhappy feeling. Please, because we care about your mental health, bring a friend or loved one up and participate in the Penn & Teller Envelope Signing Experience."

The actual show is very cool and of course, everything has the wicked twisted humor that they're famous for.

You may have heard that after the show Penn & Teller come out into the lobby and talk to the audience and sign autographs. It's true (Teller speaks too). They autographed one of our tickets for Liz, and the other they signed "Happy Birthday Rachael" with a little birthday cake on it. We also bought Rachael this shirt.

We also saw Splash, which has been running since 1968 at the Riviera. They update it every year, and it was more your typical Vegas variety and review show, with dancing (sometimes topless) showgirls (in fact, the tits are trotted out about 45 seconds after the opening notes are sung), comedians and more. We saw those crazy-assed motorcycle riders who do their thing inside the steel mesh ball. They actually had four going at once in there, their helmets almost touching at the center point as they demonstrated the beauty of spatial geometry when combined with internal combustion engines.

A former US Ladies Freestyle ice skating champion did a strip tease on skates, while twirling multiple hula-hoops around various parts of her body. There were ice dancers and acrobats and a guy gymnast (eye candy for the ladies!) who put on an pretty amazing show of his own.

Third Vegas Tip: Do your research! Some shows sell out long in advance, so you've got to get your tickets early. Go to Vegas.Com and look around at the shows listed. There's something for everyone in all price ranges, and discounts abound for the second and third tier shows. We used a "buy one, get one" coupon for Splash, which saved us quite a bit of money.

We also purchased a "value pack" before we left which allowed us to print coupons and special offers for some shows and restaurants. Using the coupon for Splash paid for the package by itself, and we used quite a few others in the stack of possibilities that we'd printed and taken along.

Now a few words about food in Vegas.

Every casino offers a steakhouse, various fine dining choices, a buffet and a cafe. A lot of them have added food courts, like you'd find in a mall.

We don't do fine dining. Liz is a picky eater and not at all adventurous when it comes to food. I'm a barbarian, I can be just as happy with a good meal as a great meal. That said, there's a cuisine and style for everyone on the strip. Once again, do a little research ahead of time on the internet, because after all these years and with the number of Las Vegas entertainment publications, every damn eatery can truthfully claim to be selected as "Best on the Strip", and they all do.

That goes for most of the restaurants too, not just the fine dining.

There are some damn good buffets available in Las Vegas, if you know where and when to go. We visited a few that ranged from mediocre to fair. Disappointing, actually.

Fourth Vegas Tip: For about the same money as the buffets (and get used to it now, eating is going to be pricey), the cafe's in each casino are your best bet.

On our first night in town, after a day of flying and not eating much at all, we were starved. We wound up at the Pyramid Cafe in the Luxor and ordered dinner. Our bill was around forty bucks for the two of us, and we quickly learned that meals for two would run between $35-$50.

But the food... mmmmmmmmmm. I'd ordered the Monte Cristo, which is about the dumbest sandwich ever invented. For those that don't know, it's ham, turkey and swiss, dipped in egg batter and fried, dusted with powdered sugar and served with strawberry jam (but I think raspberry is traditional). Liz ordered some kind of club sandwich that was excellent as well. On the side, I had the best potato salad I've ever eaten in my life. I want my homemade potato salad to be this stuff. I'm pissed because I never went back just for an order of potato salad, it was that good.

At other cafe's, we had Cobb Salads, Chicken Parmesian, an enourmous "appetizer" of nachos with steak and guacamole that overwhelmed a platter bigger than anything in our kitchen, and so on. A slice of cheesecake was big enough for two, covered with sliced fresh strawberrys and real whipped cream. One morning we had breakfast in a deli near Ceasar's Palace, and I had homemade corned beef hash that was excellent. Again, figure around twenty bucks per person and don't sweat it.

One of my "strategies" to combat the heat was to order a soda or beer with my meal, and get a water on the side. And keep the water coming. It was well over 100 degrees there every day (closer to 110 usually), and I did a fair amount of walking outside, so at mealtimes especially I'd rehydrate like crazy.

Bottled water or soda is going to run $2.00 and up. You can occasionally find an enterprising young man on the street who has a cooler of bottled water for a buck a shot. Drinking fountains are few and far between. So even though you're going to have to pay out the nose for water, you can still save a little by doing what I did and drinking mostly water (and lots of it) during mealtimes.

There are food values to be found, if you look and are willing to go a little out of your way for them. Things like $10 steak dinners and jumbo hot dogs for a buck and such. Once again, do your research beforehand, because they're listed online and often you have to ask the waiter for them as they won't be on the menu. Las Vegas McDonalds is priced mostly like McDonalds at home, but I didn't go to Vegas to eat Big Macs.

A new addition since I last visited are Krispy Kreme donut shops in a few of the casinos. Most just take delivery from the main stores and sell for a buck a shot, any kind. The Excalibur has a big shop, with the entire donut making assembly line behind a glass wall so you can see them go from raw dough to finished glazed perfection in minutes. These are good options for a late night sweet tooth or early morning quickie breakfast.

So that covers shows and food. Next time it'll be attractions (or how I spent 90% of my time), shopping and sightseeing.

Posted by Ted at 12:34 PM | Comments (255) | TrackBack

July 15, 2006

Vegas Baby! (part 1)

On July 11th, Liz and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary. As a special treat to ourselves, we planned a trip to the neon desert out in Nevada.

I've been to Las Vegas before. Liz has been to Las Vegas before. But we never had been at the same time. I'm going to post this is sections, because I've got plenty to talk about.

The first day was an odd series of minor annoyances that edged right to the brink of pissing me off, and then somehow, someone would manage to completely defuse my temper. Our daughter Robyn stayed at the house for the week, taking care of the dogs (Fred went to a bunny-sitter because Robyn's allergies won't let her deal with him) and she dropped us off at the airport.

Outside the terminal, you check your bags before you even go in, and it costs $2.00 a bag. I don't know what the deal is, but the line for that was way shorter than the ones inside, so I consider it two bucks well spent. On top of that, the guy gave us the goofiest directions I'd ever heard for what we should do once in the terminal. I asked him to repeat them twice, because he had a helluva accent, and they just didn't make sense. Lucky for us, I listened to the guy and we found ourselves checked in after another brief wait in some out of the way desk with an almost non-existent line.

By the time we got to our gate, Liz was hobbling pretty badly because of her hip. I let the airline desk folks know so that we got to slide in near the beginning because Liz was slow. On top of that, one of the stewardesses got our info so that there would be a wheelchair waiting for us in Vegas. Good deal.

The flight was a non-stop, from Ted, which is United's economy service, on an Airbus 319. I'll tell you now, I'd fly them again, the folks were great in every way. They also did something I'd never seen before. Once we took off and got to cruising altitude, the Captain came on the intercom and announced a game that everyone could play. Pretty silly, I know. Except that the prize was a pair of tickets to see the Blue Man Group, which runs a couple hundred bucks. The game was simple, the Captain gave some clues to consider, and everyone wrote down their guess as to how much our aircraft weighed at takeoff (pounds and ounces). Some of the clues were pretty specific, like:

"We loaded 1,655 gallons of fuel."
"Fuel weighs about 6.71 pounds per gallon."
"Total baggage weight was 1,280 pounds."

Some were a little less specific:

"There are 151 passengers on the flight."
"There are 7 crew members on this flight."

And then the real curve ball:

"A typical short-hop plane that holds 50 people weighs about 120,000 pounds at take off."
"A 747 weighs about 830,000 pounds at take off."

All those numbers are more or less pulled out of thin air, I don't remember specifics. So everyone calculated and guessed and turned their cards into the flight crew. Just before landing, someone way up front was named the winner, missing the real weight by less than 70 pounds I think.

When we got to the Vegas airport, there was no chair waiting. The ground staff claimed they never got the word, and the air crew called BS. After 10 minutes I asked the ground staff to call again, and again 10 minutes later. By now I'm doing a slow simmer, and after 30 minutes on the ground and not seeing the promised wheelchair we decided that we'd just walk to the baggage claim and our shuttle bus to the hotel. As we made our way slowly along, one of the stewardesses from our flight caught up to us and got pissed because the chair never showed up. She snagged someone from the airport staff and made him call directly and let them know where we were. Me, I'm appreciating all the assistance, but would more appreciate some actual results. Liz's hip is just hurting badly. We waited another few minutes and I saw a lady pushing an empty wheelchair go by. I called her over and asked if she was looking for us, but nope. I told her what was going on and she let her supervisor know that she was going to give us a hand. This lady was a joy, and twenty minutes later we'd collected our bag and were sitting at the front of the line for the shuttle bus.

We stayed at the Luxor, the giant pyramidal Egyptian-themed hotel on the strip. Once inside, our first stop was the bell desk to pick up Liz's scooter. We rented a power-chair for the week, because it would make things so much easier for her. It was supposed to be waiting for us at the hotel. When they claimed they didn't have any record of it Liz was trying to calm me down while not losing her own cool. After a short wait, they found the scooter, under the correct name. Turns out the bell clerk had given the wrong name to the people who fetch the chairs which is why they couldn't find it.

First Vegas Tip: If you have any kind of mobility problem, rent an electric wheelchair or scooter. This will be the best spent money during your stay because you'll be doing a *lot* of walking, and there's no point in being miserable while getting around.

At check in, there was a line which was long but moving along nicely. Before we knew it, the floor manager was taking down ropes and signalling Liz to come on through. We were given a little perk because of Liz and the chair and headed right towards the next available clerk.

A word about the Luxor. The lobby is magnificent, with enourmous "stone" obelisks and sphinxes and other statues. Very "Egyptian". I was very much looking forward to our room in the pyramid, with the slanted window wall looking out over the city. One drawback was that the Luxor rooms only have showers, not bathtubs. Very big showers. We figured we'd ask for a shower stool for Liz and call it problem solved. Instead, the check in clerk offered us a free upgrade to the a "handicap equipped" room with a bath and shower, plus it's bigger too (more room for the scooter to get around in). The downside was that the upgrade was in one of the towers. That seemed well worth it to me, trading the slanted window for the tub for Liz. Once in the room though, we quickly discovered that there wasn't a tub, just a built-in shower stool and lots of handicapped bars all over the bathroom. That's ok though, because it was still a big room with a nice view.

Second Vegas Tip: Relax and enjoy the cheesiness. I had been to the lobby and casino areas of the Luxor before. All of the various casinos on the Vegas strip are pretty much alike, but the lobby and shopping areas are where each resort expresses it's "theme". The lobby area of the Luxor is stunning, and I guess I expected the hotel areas to be done up in understated colonial elegance from early-20th century Egypt. Instead you get everything except Tut-on-black-velvet in the rooms.

An hour later, I was trying to figure out what this one handle on Liz's chair did, because it was just hanging there at an odd angle. It came off in my hand, and Liz called the wheelchair place to find out what to do. It turned out to be the locking mechanism for the seat and was supposed to keep it from rotating freely, and had nothing to do with the mobility. I later found another piece of the handle mechanism on the floor of the room. When everyone understood what the problem was, it was agreed all around that the chair was usable as is. Liz and I just wanted to make sure that they were notified so that there wouldn't be any later problems. Once again my temper was defused by common sense and folks who cared about making things right.

I won't talk about the gambling, because I don't gamble. Liz did, mostly the slots, but I personally didn't spend a single cent on games of chance. That's just me.

So if you don't gamble, what the hell are you doing in Vegas? I'll cover that in part 2.

Posted by Ted at 02:30 PM | Comments (8)

July 08, 2006

See you in a week

VegasBaby.jpg

Posted by Ted at 09:01 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

July 04, 2006

Wish I were wrong

But I don't think I am (naughtyness in the extended entry).

refresherlesson.jpg

Posted by Ted at 10:44 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 03, 2006

Remember that big-ass tree?

I'm talking about that maple in my backyard. I've had a love/hate relationship with that tree for years. It tried to neuter me, I scalped it halfway up. It's a beautiful tree that totally screws up my yard by where it's at and its massive and shallow root system. Filthy thing too, raining shit down - leaves and/or monkey balls (spiny seed pods) - all year round. Because of this tree, I can't grow much beyond mossy dirt and hostas.

Last night, we had a pop-up thunderstorm sit right over us for a good hour. The sky looked like God's own disco with the strobe effect, and plenty of visible lightning from my front door. Once the torrential rains started in, I watched a couple of huge trees across the street to see if they were going to come down. The wind was impressive. They survived, but my backyard maple got topped.

We discovered it this morning. About 30' of the very top came pretty much straight down into our backyard. The very tips landed across the fence, but not enough to do any damage (thank heavens).

I've already been out toe survey the damage. It's cut up into manageable pieces and dragged out into the back meadow, ready to end up down by the creek.

I like this. Now, if the next storm can take another 30' off, I can call the tree removal company and all they'll need to do is the bare trunk and stump. Yay!

Posted by Ted at 08:25 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

July 02, 2006

Cleaning Day

I started going through a bunch of old papers this weekend, throwing most of them out (I'm a major packrat), when I came across my printed archives from the old blogspot version of Rocket Jones. A lot of the original stuff didn't get imported from there because, frankly, it sucked (worse than now). But there were some good posts too, so I'm going to occasionally repost some of them again here.

I'm not going to make a big deal out of it, no announcement about repost or anything, so just enjoy the deja vu if you'd seen it before way back when.

Posted by Ted at 09:18 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 27, 2006

For the record

Fred the rabbit loves spinach and kale.

He's only 'eh' about parsley.

He doesn't like mustard greens.

Posted by Ted at 07:46 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Cultural Moment

Not really, just something I saw on a bulletin board:

"'alice' was a very important show to the hip-hop community, that show had mad flo"

I'm sure that somewhere there's a college offering a degree in that.

Posted by Ted at 05:07 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 26, 2006

What a mess

Almost 6" of rain over the weekend. Trees are down. Basements flooded. Roads flooded. Train tracks flooded.

Scattered rain predicted for the rest of the week.

Yay.

Posted by Ted at 06:15 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

June 23, 2006

Completely out of character

In addition to the crazybusy schedule at work lately, I've been immersed in a couple of rather involved home projects, and some rather unusual (for me) time-eaters.

I'm not much on computer games. I'd rather program 'em than play on 'em, it's just always been my style. But a couple of years ago, I overheard my daughter Mookie talking about playing Starcraft online, and when I found out we could play each other over our home network, I had to give it a try. I liked it, and played pretty steadily for several months, both with and without Rachael. Eventually the phase passed and I hadn't played for better than a year.

Until a couple of weeks ago, that is. I got a bee in my bonnet and reloaded it onto my machine and I've been going through the opening scenarios to relearn the game.

Tonight at a store, I saw the StarCraft Anniversary Set, containing the original game, the BroodWar expansion and some other goodies. For $20, I picked it up. Fun-ness. I'd been playing on a copied CD-ROM, which may have been my backup from the long-lost original. Or it may have been a bootleg, I dunno. Anyways, I now have strictly legal versions and am basking in my law-abidingilityness. That and blasting those Zerg into bloody puddles.

The other time eater is Myst. Rachael and I had it on our PC way back when and enjoyed several hours tootling around and figuring things out. We never got very far, but we never cared all that much. The version I have now is for my iPaq PDA. I bought it to treat myself, and I'm enjoying it very much.

I wonder how long it would take a pack of zerglings to level Myst Island?

Posted by Ted at 09:10 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

brief update

I've got a couple of posts ready to go, but they contain images and for some reason Movable Type is being stubborn about actually displaying them.

Minx... Minx... Minx... Minx...

Posted by Ted at 05:36 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 21, 2006

Kicking off Summer with a contest

Since beginnings are important, I thought it would be a good idea to officially start Summer 2006 with something personally positive. Fill in the blanks:

Rocket Jones is better than _________________ because it's _______________.

For instance, you might say:

Rocket Jones is better than bondage because it's top-rack dishwasher safe.

That example was totally random. If you want to win, you should give it some thought.

That's right, I said "win"! There will be a prize awarded to the person who submits the best entry. If you've been around a while, you know that my contest prizes don't suck, although if I had a lawyer he'd tell me to reserve that right, so I do.

Leave 'em in the comments.

Posted by Ted at 05:48 AM | Comments (12) | TrackBack

June 20, 2006

Pigeon Bukkake

Yesterday morning, while driving to work, my car was... splashed... with bird poop. I used "pigeon" in the title, but from the amount of it I'd say it was more likely a pteradactyl or a flock of golden eagles. I had to run my windshield washers for quite a while to get most of it off, and when I got to work, I could see where it started halfway up the hood and continued on across the roof almost to the back window. Definitely pteradactyl.

Last night we had a thunderstorm with a nice hard, driving rain. Car looks sparkly clean again this morning.

Posted by Ted at 05:05 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

June 15, 2006

New Feature!

This is the premier episode of the Rocket Jones Podcast for the Hearing Impaired.

(hum your favorite song as the lead-in)

Yes, I know this is kind of a niche market that I'm aiming towards, but I figure that by being first, I can at least be known as a pioneer.

I'm still working on the format, so bear with me. I'm looking to find some way to stand out from all the other podcasts out there.

(hum a snappy tune for the following)

By the way, your ad can be read heard here! Contact Rocket Jones for rates.

How 'bout that war, eh?

This podcasting stuff is harder than it looks. I think I need to do more prep ahead of time, it takes practice to sound off-the-cuff.

(hum closing music, whatever floats your boat)

Catch you next time on the Rocket Jones Podcast for the Hearing Impaired!

Posted by Ted at 07:39 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

June 14, 2006

Maybe that's how Ghandi ate them

Peanut butter and jelly on a sesame-seed roll.

Odd combination of flavors.

Posted by Ted at 12:14 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

No white people were insulted in the making of this post

I have a new favorite cracker. Triscuit has a "rosemary and olive oil" flavor out that is amazingly yummy, and WalMart has one of their house-brands with the same taste in a regular type cracker.

To die for.

Posted by Ted at 05:44 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

June 12, 2006

Graduation

Rachael did. We received official notice today that I can stop by the high school and pick up her diploma.

Congrats also to my nephew Michael, who also graduated this year.

Posted by Ted at 03:22 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

June 08, 2006

But...

Oh so predictable:

Of course I'm glad we got Zarqawi, but...

There is no "but".

Or maybe there is.

...but at least no more students will be dragged off busses and executed on his orders.

...but at least no more innocent women and children will be blown into bloody rags while shopping at the market on his orders.

...but at least no more Iraqi policemen will be murdered on his orders.

...but at least no more aid workers, journalists, or diplomats will be beheaded on video on his orders.

...but maybe people will quit trying to find the dark cloud in this silver lining. Killing this animal is a good thing.

No buts about it.

Posted by Ted at 08:59 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

June 06, 2006

Estate Tax (Update and Bump)

I heard one of the most blatant outright lies today on a radio ad about the proposed repeal of the estate tax.

You think it's fair that the mega-rich get a mega-tax break? That money is coming out of somebody's pockets, and it's not the heirs and heiresses.

Excuse me? The "mega-rich" (or anybody else, for that matter), already pay property taxes on what they own, so taxing them again when they die is nothing more than kicking the dead. Call it what it is, a tax on cessation of respiration.

Furthermore, *not* taxing the deceased isn't taking money out of anybody's pocket, it's *not* your freaking money to begin with. It's theirs! They stop breathing and immediately these assholes lay claim to the bucks, because, you know, they're just evil rich and all.

I don't trust the government. I don't trust a socialist. I don't trust a Democrat. I don't trust a religious zealot.

All of you, stay the hell out of my life. Stay the hell out of my death too.

Update: Duncan left a reasonable comment about this, directing me towards this WaPo article in an effort to clarify their position. In return, I'd ask that you consider this rebuttal to the same article. While you're there at QandO, check out the comments too, as there is lively and (mostly) rational debate of the issue.

Posted by Ted at 04:36 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

About this "6/6/6" date thing

I kept hearing about this and was wondering what the heck the fuss was about. I thought they'd moved election day up from November or something. The rhetoric was strikingly similar.

Posted by Ted at 06:13 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

June 05, 2006

Not quite that far

I mean, I wouldn't have his babies or anything, but Pixy Misa, benevolent host and master of Mu.Nu, has done it again. Our MovableType search functions was sloooooooooooooow because of the sheer number of blogs and posts hosted. So Pixy decided to rewrite the seach function to go zooooooooooom instead.

They do indeed, indeed they do. Give it a try, you'll be amazed.

Posted by Ted at 09:51 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

May 31, 2006

Via Email

I like this.

A win win win situation. Dig a moat the length of the Mexican border, use the dirt to raise the levies in New Orleans and put the Florida alligators into the moat. Any other problems you would like me to solve?

Hmmm... spam? While we're digging the moat and filling it with gators...

Posted by Ted at 05:54 AM | Comments (2)

May 27, 2006

Seen on the road

A vehicle with one of those magnetic "support" ribbons, this one was black with purple outlines. The cause?

Support Lap Dancing

I could donate a twenty to that.

Posted by Ted at 07:29 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

May 26, 2006

Dragged, kicking and screaming, into the 21st Century

I now have a cell phone. I warned my wife that I wasn't going to automatically answer it just because it makes noise at me.

Posted by Ted at 09:24 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

It's amazing what you can accomplish if you don't sit down

I took today off for an overdue extra long weekend. Even so, Liz woke me up when she left for work at 7 so I could get a few things done.

So let's see... it's just after noon, and I've:

Taken the car in for scheduled service and maintenance.
Gotten a haircut.
Bought some needed items for my new hybrid rocket motors.
Mowed the yard.
Broke the fence while mowing.
Fixed the fence.
Given both dogs a bath.

This afternoon I've got to meet Liz at the car dealership. Her vehicle has a recall against it and she scheduled an appointment to get it taken care of. While that's happening, we'll run a few other errands and then, other than laundry and cleaning the house, we should be completely done with "have to do's" for the holiday weekend. Yippeeeeeee!

Posted by Ted at 11:18 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

May 25, 2006

Lyric

These guys write some of the catchiest, smartest songs around.

I was thinking about Abraham Lincoln
And the enemies of truth
But I could not tell a Kennedy
From a John Wilkes Booth

The Rainmakers - "Reckoning Day"

Posted by Ted at 04:56 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 23, 2006

Maybe Antarctica (updated)

Creating a surface-to-idiot missile is actually quite simple*. Testing it is next to impossible because the guidance system is constantly overwhelmed with targets.

* No, really. It is! I designed one and had it about 95% working. I think there was a problem with a switch though, because every time I turned it on the darn thing would blow up on my workbench.

Update: Thanks to Zoe pointing out the spelling error (now fixed). Maybe it wasn't the switch...

Posted by Ted at 05:07 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

May 21, 2006

New Tagline

Over on the sidebar. It's been a long time since that was updated.

Posted by Ted at 11:56 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

May 18, 2006

Technically, this is a post

Been way too busy doing things not worth blogging about, and rather than sink to bunny blogging I've just been letting Rocket Jones idle. Except for the hockey playoffs, that is. That's been kept up to date, and now that my beloved Sharks are eliminated (streaky play to the end, rotten time to go cold), I'm looking at the remaining teams and have to say, "Go Sabres".

Maybe, if we all ask nicely, Mookie will share some of her London pictures and stories with us.

Posted by Ted at 05:11 AM | Comments (2)

May 13, 2006

Leaving well enough alone

We went to the store this evening, and I was wandering the cereal aisle and noticed a box of Captain Crunch. Yum!

Except, this wasn't the Captain I grew up with. The Captain I remember was a kindly old man, in fact, he always reminded me of another Captain, named Kangaroo. Check out this Wikipedia link for a nice picture of the "good" Captain.

Today's Captain Crunch looks like a lunatic escapee from an asylum! The heck with it. The cereal goes into a plastic container in the pantry and I threw the box away. Too creepy. Next time you're in the supermarket, check out the loon on today's box and you'll see what I mean.

Posted by Ted at 11:03 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

I'm alive

...just been very, very busy.

Posted by Ted at 01:03 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 08, 2006

I knew college would turn her into a commie

Mookie got some PC time from London the other day, so she IM'd Dad. She's having a great time, and told a great story about one day her and a friend had while sightseeing. It seems that they were out and about on May 1st and somehow wound up marching in the socialist's May Day parade. Afterwards, they were within about 20' of the main stage where all the speaker's were talking to the crowd. She said they got tons of flyers and leaflets and a big sign too.

Dad, every conceivable nitwit with a cause was out there. What a freakin' zoo.

That's my girl.

Posted by Ted at 07:20 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

May 02, 2006

His name is Fred, and he's a quiet guy

The extended Phipps clan grew by one last weekend with the addition of a new pet.

Meet Fred. He's a Holland Lop.

Fred, the Holland Lop Bunny

Liz kinda surprised us all a few weeks ago when she announced that she's always wanted a rabbit. This was news to everyone, because none of the rest of us can ever remember her mentioning it before. I know that she was born on Easter, whatever that may have to do with it.

But I'm nothing if not agreeable, so I told her to do some research and if she really wanted a bunny, then I didn't have a problem with it. Google is your friend, and we also discovered that there is a "Rabbits for Dummies".

I've learned a bit about the little critters, such as mostly they ain't so little. Fred is a bantam by bunny standards, coming in at around 4 pounds. Also, being a lop, his body structure is very different from the short-eared breeds more common out west where I grew up. When Fred hunkers down, he's shaped like a Volkswagen, whereas the wild jackrabbits I hunted in my youth were more upright and lean, built for speed.

Not to say that Fred is a slowpoke. He's already demonstrated an amazing ability to reverse direction on a dime, leaving our dog Trix wondering what the hell just happened during the chase.

The dogs are fine with Fred. Sam, the oldster, could really care less. Trix has mastered the skill of jumping over the baby gate at will, assuming that the barrier is to keep Fred *in*, not him out. Mostly, they're still getting used to each other, with Trix trying to figure out why the new weird dog doesn't act like one.

About the name. Fred's first known name was Severn, as in "Severn River", which is where he was found as a stray (and how do you know a rabbit is a stray?). When he was taken in by the Bunny Rescue people, he was renamed Fast Freddie for his pinball-like speed. According to the pet psychic, he likes the name Fast Freddie. I hate it, but it's better than anything else we've come up with, so by default his name in our house is becoming plain ol' Fred.

Pet psychic? Oh yeah, the Bunny Rescue people have a pet psychic come in to see the rabbits every once in a while. Fred remembers two Springs, so they figure he's two years old. When the lady told us about the pet psychic, she said "this is going to sound goofy...". You know what? She sounded about as goofy talking about the rabbits as I do talking about rockets. Nothing wrong with being passionate about something.

Fred was neutered and microchipped, so he can be tracked and reunited with us in the event of a natural disaster.

He likes dried papaya, spinich and raisins, besides his normal diet of Purina Rabbit Chow and hay. Rabbits are big hay eaters, which I didn't know. He's also litter box trained.

I think he's happy with his new home. At least he hasn't been bitching, but like I said, he's a quiet guy.

Posted by Ted at 07:06 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

April 29, 2006

Funny because it's true

I fell asleep early last night on the couch in my den, and woke up around 4am (my usual time) with a stiff back. I went into the sewing room, and sat in my wife's chair because she keeps a heating pad there. Felt gooooooooood.

Not wanting to fall back asleep with the heat on (sitting up? oh yeah, no problem for me), I turned on the TV and looked for something besides those inane infomercials for Jack LaLaine's Power Juicer and the revolutionary new Me Gym.

So I settled on a couple of gardening shows, which was ok, but what I remember is one particular commercial I saw for some dog food. In it, a guy's sitting on the couch reading a book, when his dog comes in (big, beautiful white short-hair breed) and noses his head under the book. The dog is obviously saying "pet me". The guy half turns and goes back to his book, and the dog climbs up into his lap.

Next shot, the dog is laying on the guys lap like an oversized baby while he scratches his belly. Next shot, the dog is sitting in the guys lap with both feet on his shouldeers, washing his face.

The tagline for the commercial was something like "He's more than a dog, he's your best friend".

The commercial closed with one of those time-elapsed bed shots showing you sleeping at different points of time during the night. First, the guy is laying there and the dog is in the bed too, with his head on the guy's hip. Next, the guy is still laying there, but the dog has leaned into him back to back. Finally, the dog is all sprawled across the bed, and the guy (still asleep) is scrunched against the edge of the bed.

Very funny. Very true.

After a while, my back was unkinked so I headed to my own bed. Our dog Trix was curled up on my side of the bed with no inclination to move. I wound up wrapped around him, arm across both the dog and Liz, more crossways on the bed than anything.

Very true.

Posted by Ted at 07:26 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

April 28, 2006

PC's are for those who cannot think big

I've been diddling around with the playoff series table up above, both here on Rocket Jones and on my own space at home. Partly for fun, and partly to sharpen up some new skills for the workplace.

See, I am currently working as a COBOL programmer. I know, I can hear some snickering and even a gasp of disbelief or two. They don't even teach COBOL in school anymore. Which is all well and good, except that there are literally billions of lines of COBOL code out there in the real world, being used every day, and working perfectly well. The only problem is that it's "old", and to many people in today's technological world, "old" = bad.

It's not always true, and luckily for me, I was able to fall back on the ol' COBOL skillset when my last position disappeared because a "new", "good" system was implemented (one that still doesn't work very well two years later, but that's another story). I did mainframe database systems for years and years before this.

But I don't necessarily want to be a COBOL programmer for the rest of my working life, although I probably could. I'm actually a young whippersnapper compared to a lot of the COBOL programmers still working, and that pool of talent is shrinking faster than the remaining need for 'em. One of the best skills to have for the massive Y2K effort was COBOL. Business needed them, and paid dearly because they needed them badly.

So I've been taking classes and doing a lot of home-study. HTML and CSS. I've got a test database built in MySQL and I've started accessing it via PHP to create dynamic web pages. Not a biggie to the guru's out there, but for a mainframe guy this stuff is a whole new way of looking at the world. Kinda like what you went through learning Visual Basic if you knew plain ol' vanilla Basic before that, or OOP when that became the way to go.

Next up is XML and Java, and my company has told me that VB.NET is hot right now.

But at this moment, I've got my NHL Playoff database and I'm learning how to do strange and wondrous things with it. Up top is a standard HTML table, but at some point it might evolve into something interactive. If I figure out how soon enough.

Baby steps... that's how to take it... baby steps.

Posted by Ted at 05:48 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

April 25, 2006

Camera Adventure Update

Yesterday Rachael and I headed to the store to exchange memory cards (#2 on this list). During the day I'd called corporate headquarters and opened a customer complaint case and gotten the name of a local contact who'll handle it.

Because I had an appointment late yesterday afternoon, I didn't have time to raise hell at the store itself. We walked in and a very nice, very knowlegable young man handled the problem. First, new - correct - media. Good deal. Next, I wanted a new camera as well because I might've damaged something trying to put the incorrect cards into the slot (I used a bit of force because we were assured that we had the correct card, so, it *had* to fit, right?). The kid said we'd test the camera first, because he really didn't think I could've damaged it that way. I'm a reasonable guy.

No joy. Camera broked. He went to get another. Got that one out to test it, and it wouldn't initialize correctly. The lens mechanism was jammed or some such right out of the box. He went to check the inventory, but that was the last one they had in stock. I allowed him to steer us over to the camera display to see if we could find an acceptable substitute, but I was pretty picky, finding nit-noid fault with everything he suggested.

With great sadness I told him that I wanted a refund for everything. He was sad too, and apologized to Mookie because now she wouldn't have a camera.

That's when I let him know that a rival chain had an upgraded model on sale, and that we were headed right on over to pick one up.

Memory cards? No, refund those too, because rival chain had 'em for the same price, plus a rebate.

Hanging up on this customer cost them a sale this time, and we won't be going back. I hope that jackass got his jollies doing it, because the last laugh will be mine. I've made it clear to corporate that, as a professional who deals with customer service every day, I know that pulling a stunt like that is a firing offense. I want that nitwit terminated.

Posted by Ted at 11:02 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

April 24, 2006

This ol' world spinnin' 'round 'n' 'round

(this post sponsored by the apostrophe!)

Lot's been happening around the ol' homestead. In no particular order:

1. Mookie is home from school for a week or so. Then she jets off to London for her theater junket. We shall have a house full of college girls staying over on Tuesday night before they leave. I have already been warned.

2. My wife and Mookie went out yesterday and bought a new digital camera for the trip. They already knew what model they wanted, but the knucklehead who worked there would not let them see the box ("I have to personally carry it up front to the register"). He also sold them the wrong media cards, which my wife would have realized if she'd have been able to read the box. So as annoying as it is having to go back there to exchange the memory cards, when my wife called to complain about it, the department manager copped an attitude, started mouthing off and then hung up on her.

Bad move. Now they have to deal with me. And I've already got corporate's customer service number and a whole evening worth of stewing built up. In fact, I think we might check to see if that camera is available at another store. With luck, Mookie gets her camera, the first store loses the sale (and if the Gods are smiling, chucklehead works on commision), plus I get to be a condescending jerk while I deal with the mental defectives at the original place. Believe me, if I see the salesguy who made the first screw up, he will be referred to as "that idiot" frequently and to his face.

Mistakes happen. This one could have and should have been prevented. And their version of "customer service" made what should have been a minor thing into a huge deal to me. It's personal.

3. The rocket launch this weekend was rained out, for me anyway. I know Russ went on Friday and saw some cool flights (and shreds), but Friday was "experimental" day when the guys who make their own motors fly, and I couldn't take the day off. Saturday rained like a mother all day long, and since the field is a plowed farm field, there was no way I was going to go on Sunday. I prefer music with my mosh pit.

4. Robyn and her new boyfriend and another friend were up on Saturday. Nice guy, she's happy.

5. I used the smoker again on Saturday. Yes, in the rain. I did a whole chicken (which cooked faster than I thought it would), and a roast (which cooked slower than I thought it would), and grilled zuccini, asparagus and pineapple. Toss a loaf of home made bread and home made mac & cheese on the table, and it was some pretty damn fine eatin'! We sent a good bit home with Robyn, and we still have a fair amount of leftovers.

6. Other stressful happenings which I'm not going to get into. These collectively could be filed under "no hilarity ensued".

More later. I mean, more posting... I'm done bitching. I think.

For now.

Posted by Ted at 05:20 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

April 20, 2006

My apologies

I use Firefox at home, and the hockey playoff table in the upper right hand corner of the page looks great. This morning I looked at it using IE, and it's a mess. The bad news is that I don't have a lot of time at the moment to muck about with it. The good news is that all of my legally blind visitors will be able to keep up with the scores.

Posted by Ted at 04:58 AM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

April 17, 2006

Mundae or Monday or some sleep-deprived hallucinatory nonsense

Our older dog, Sam, is terrified of thunderstorms. Last night, we had a doozy of a string roll right over the top of us, and the light and noise show went on for several hours. I know this because I checked the weather radar at 11pm. And midnight. And 1am.

Poor dog, it's not his fault. But when he's in a panic there's just no calming him down, so the best I could do was to lead him into the other room and just be there with him so that Liz could get some sleep. Things finally calmed down, but it's been a long time since I've been pissed off at my alarm clock just for doing its job.

My behind was dragging this morning.

I've talked before about the giant maple tree in my backyard who's sole purpose is to provide enough shade to make growing grass impossible. Keep that in mind, I'll be getting back to it.

My wife, sweetheart that she is, brought a new DVD that she had burned into the den this weekend. She "tivo's" stuff from the satellite dish ("tivo" is quickly going the way of "kleenex" and "aspirin", genericized until the brand name loses its specific meaning), and then burns them to disk.

This DVD was lovingly crafted for me. On it was Thunderbirds, SpiderBabe, and Twenty Million Miles to Earth. Thunderbirds is the recent live-action movie based on the original SuperMarionation series of the 60's. Twenty Million is one of the better Sci-Fi monster movies of black-and-white days, full of Harryhausen stop-animation coolness and a plot that actually makes you care about and feel sorry for the monster. Plus, he's stomping Rome, which is a nice change from Tokyo. Lileks mentioned the movie once, and used a still from it as his banner.

The third movie, SpiderBabe, was a mystery to me. I knew that Liz did channel searches for things like "hockey" and her favorite shows. It turns out that Liz also does a regular check for any Misty Mundae movies coming on (gotta love a woman that'll do that for you). SpiderBabe is one of her latest, very much in the same style of Lord of the G-String and Play-Mate of the Apes: softcore porn featuring plenty of girl on girl action in a low-budget flick that closely follows the plotline of the original movie that it's parodying. Parodying? Is that even a word?

I had the movie on in the background while I was doing some other things, and noticed some familar faces from other movies. I noted something of a trend here too, because Misty gets bitten by a radioactive spider (of course), which is similar to her getting bitten by a mutant spider in Bite Me! Keep that in mind, I'll be getting back to it.

Remember that tree? Ok, good.

Liz also burned all twelve episodes of Showtime's series Masters of Horror onto three DVD's for me this weekend. I was kinda ticked off because there were thirteen episodes, and I didn't get the last one. I recently saw in WalMart that they're releasing them in pairs, one episode per DVD, but I think the price is kinda outrageous. Still, I'll have to get that thirteenth episode, just for completeness' sake.

Then in an email, Blue casually mentioned that the missing episode really was missing. I did a little googling and discovered that the thirteenth episode never aired in the US because it was a little too intense. It did show in the UK, and word is that it's pretty good and yes, pretty intense. I hadn't heard about that before, so thanks!

And on Sunday, Liz calls me into her sewing room (where she does her DVD magic) and tells me that Misty Mundae is in one of the Masters of Horror episodes, billed as "Erin Brown". It's definitely her. She plays a lesbian (natch) who gets bitten by a weird bug (definitely a pattern here). I absolutely loved the nod to her "other" movie career because in this her character's name is "Misty". Good fun.

Note to Blue: Misty Mundae appears in the episode "Sick Girl", about the entymologist and the odd package from Brazil.

Note to everyone else: This series rocks. Being Showtime, you get major gratuitous nudity plus fairly gruesome gore, and the stories themselves aren't terrible.

In other news, I waited for someone to happen by and hand me my sign because I did something Pretty Damn Stupid on Sunday morning (yes, that's capitalized on purpose). I was up early so I let the dogs out into the backyard. I started some laundry and then wandered out back and checked on the new smoker, wanting to bring it under the eaves since it looked like rain. I took it apart and felt the charcoal pan for heat (it was cool to the touch), so I carried it out behind the house and dumped it at the base of the holly tree near my back fence. I've been using that tree as my personal compost heap for 16 years. Turning the pile, adding to it, and putting the rich end-product back into my flower beds.

A little later I went down to throw the laundry into the dryer, and saw smoke come pouring over and through my back fence. I knew immediately what was going on, so I quickly put on some shoes, grabbed the back yard hose (on full blast), and dragged it out the back gate.

Sonuvabitch if that compost heap wasn't merrily smouldering away. Like one of those peat fires that burn for years, I didn't see any actual flame, but there was lots of smoke. My neighbor had spotted it too and beat me there by less than a minute, so we stood there and bullshitted and put out the fire I started. When I mentioned the new smoker, he said it was a good one, "big enough for a whole tree".

After a bit we heard sirens in the background. I was hoping that someone hadn't seen the smoke and called the fire department because I felt dumb enough already. When they sounded closer I told Mike that he should head back inside so as not to be there when the firemen came around behind the houses.

The firefighters never did show (sorry Susie), so I drenched the pile thoroughly and turned it a couple of times with a pitchfork to make sure everything got a soaking.

Later, I told Liz about it. She asked which tree it was that I tried to set on fire, and when I told her she only said "wrong tree". Referring to the maple. You did remember, right?

Posted by Ted at 06:15 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

April 15, 2006

Lucky for them, I'm a nice guy

I logged into CPanel this evening, which I haven't done in quite some time. We Munuvians have all these fantastic tools and toys available via CPanel, thanks to superhost Pixy Misa.

So I started poking around, confirming that I do indeed have access to PHP and MySQL here on Rocket Jones, and I got curious about the various stats counters and routines offered. Looking at the last 300 visitors, I quickly realized that a *lot* of people are hotlinking to my San Jose Sharks logo, and most of those bandwidth thieves are MySpacers. One bozo even hotlinked one of my graphics and was using it as his forum avatar, and this chucklehead was a prolific poster on some, ah, interesting, forums.

Luckily, we have hotlink prevention tools here at Munuviana, and I arranged it so all those dOOdz get the ol' red-X from her on. They're lucky I didn't redirect their links to something, ah, interesting.

Posted by Ted at 08:02 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

April 11, 2006

Meanwhile, back at the ranch

Check out the Rocket Jones Skunkworks and see what the future might look like around here. Let me know what you think.

Thanks.

Posted by Ted at 07:44 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

April 10, 2006

Eminently Quotable (Updated)

Sir Noel Coward:

"Of course, the age-old tradition that a star must appear even if he or she is practically dying is an excellent one, but it can be carried too far. I one played a performance of The Knight of the Burning Pestle with a temperature of 103 and gave sixteen members of the company mumps, thereby closing the play and throwing everybody out of work. There may be a moral lurking somewhere in this, but I cannot for the life of me discover what it is."

We saw Coward's Private Lives this weekend. Mookie was the lead costume designer and recreated a 1930's era evening gown from photographs she found on the internet.

Update: Rachael sent the picture that she used to recreate the dress. Her version was vivid red and done in some satiny material. (in the extended entry)

mookie dress - private lives.bmp

Posted by Ted at 05:27 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

April 06, 2006

Sorry

Saw this while surfing and just had to share.

heads.gif

Pretty damn creepy, eh?

Posted by Ted at 07:29 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

April 04, 2006

Tenderize it again, it's still moving!!!

Lowe's Hardware is trying real hard to join the short list of places I'll never set foot in again unless looting is involved. My mother-in-law sent me a gift card from there for Christmas, and this week in the mail arrived a $10.00 off a $50.00 purchase. Hey, I was good to go.

So I made a list and checked it twice. It wasn't full of odd or unusual items, just a few tools and doo-dads that I'll be needing as I move up to bigger rockets, plus a couple of things for household repair chores.

After a half an hour, I'd managed to find one (!!!!) item from my list, and that item cost less than a dollar. Quite a bit less. I'm used to this kind of futility from Home Depot (it's got a French word in the name, which explains the extreme suck), but Lowe's was really letting me down.

Liz was trying to guide me out before I burst a vein because I was so frustrated and pissed off. Even the "friendly, professional help" wasn't. And I swear there were only a few people out on the floor. It was like assigning six ushers to cover the Super Bowl.

Making one last attempt to find something, anything else on the list, we veered off the main aisle and ran smack into the barbeques. I'm now the proud owner of a new charcoal smoker, which is something I've wanted for a while. So I'm happy about that, even if I'm still annoyed about not finding the rest of the stuff I went in there for in the first place.

Posted by Ted at 08:38 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Hell Yeah!

Bumper Sticker:

Stop Global Whining

Posted by Ted at 05:07 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

April 03, 2006

I love her thiiiiiiiis much!

Robyn came up from school for a couple of days, and I was pretty merciless about teasing her.

But I think she realizes that I love her, because I let her sleep with my care bears sheets.

Posted by Ted at 05:30 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 31, 2006

The carpets never looked so streak-free!

My wife reached under the sink, grabbed the Febreze upholstery freshener and spritzed the entire main floor. When she went to put the bottle away, she realized that she'd accidentally grabbed the Windex.

Posted by Ted at 10:11 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Why I could never be a lawyer - 2

Chutzpah! With a heaping helping of poetic justice.

Me: So you snuck into the bar to drink even though you were under the legal age.

Plaintiff: Yeth.

Me: And an older gentleman bought drinks from the bar and gave them to you all night long, so that nobody would find out that you were underage.

Plaintiff: Yeth.

Me: And you were... let's see... almost three times over the legal limit for operating a motor vehicle when you left the bar.

Plaintiff: Yeth.

Me: And in the parking lot, you climbed up onto a pickup truck's tailgate, at which point you passed out and fell face first to the pavement. The impact shattered your teeth, lips and gums.

Plaintiff: Yeth.

Me: Wow-

Plaintiff's lawyer: YOUR HONOR, I OBJECT!!! He's going to call my client "stupid".

Judge: Sustained.

Me: Your honor, "stupid" is a given. However, "graceful" isn't.

Posted by Ted at 05:31 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 30, 2006

Why I could never be a lawyer

iPod lawsuit.

Me: You never realized that piping music directly into your ear at high volume could damage your hearing?

Plaintiff: No.

Me: Wow. You're stupid.

Posted by Ted at 05:12 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

March 19, 2006

Don't Overdo

Putting a roll cage on your jeep impresses the ladies.

Painting a roll pattern on your jeep, not so much.

Posted by Ted at 09:13 AM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

March 17, 2006

I didn't even know there *was* a Mrs. Peanut!

And he keeps his nuts in a can!

Posted by Ted at 01:35 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Oh yeah, that's a winning marketing strategy

A pop up ad for weight loss surgery.

What they envision:

Dude, you mean I can get ready for the Summer beach trips *and* save big bucks doing it? I am so there!

Reality: posts like this.

Posted by Ted at 01:25 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 16, 2006

I never heard of it before, but I got it

I was griping last weekend about my personal head-start on the Summer cold season. I spent all weekend in bed, managed to work a half day Monday but felt lousy enough to take Tuesday off. Yesterday I cried uncle and called the doctor because the sore throat just wasn't getting better, and left work early today for the appointment.

Turns out I have Tracheitis, which is kind of a bacterial infection that settles into the windpipe instead of going north to become a sinus infection, or south to become bronchitis. I'm running a slight fever (which I didn't realize), and antibiotics have been prescribed. It's a good thing I went in, because this stuff can cause enough swelling to block off the airway.

It's supposed to rain and snow tonight. I've already let work know I'm probably not going in tomorrow.

My wife told me to quit whining. I called her Nurse Ratchet. Bad move.

Posted by Ted at 06:54 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

March 15, 2006

In which I tell a parable that has absolutely nothing to do with work. Honest.

And lo, the worker was given to construct a vehicle to convey information, and it was simple. Yet he toiled mightily, said vehicle being tossed to and fro amongst the waves of conflicting priorities.

And the worker was chastised for the delay.

From on high, the original requester was given to using faulty logic, as explained by Werner Von Braun:

"Crash programs fail because they are based on theory that, with nine women pregnant, you can get a baby in a month."

And when the duplication of effort was discovered, it was also revealed that the worker now had two conflicting sets of instructions to accomplish said task.

And the worker was chastised for the delay.

So with patience and fresh resolve, he worked with the requester to define the precise requirements and once achieved, set them into stone.

Three times.

When the requester said, "it would lighten my heart to see an adjustment made to the headlights," the worker did adjust the headlights and looked and saw that it was good.

And the requester looked upon it and said, "that is good, but those are not the headlights that needed adjustment." Upon which the requester pointed to the tires.

And the worker was chastised for the delay.

And lo, finally the vehicle was complete and ready for testing. When the worker discovered a blind-spot in a mirror, he brought it up to the requester, so that the worker might truthfully say that the task was thoroughly accomplished.

And the requester said, "a problem that will not be, just make it work like this other vehicle," upon which the requester pointed towards a shoe.

And the worker will be chastised for the delay.

Posted by Ted at 07:22 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

March 12, 2006

Is it time for 'tussin yet?

It's been a beautiful weekend, and I'm down with a big-time cold.

Posted by Ted at 10:16 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Things that make you go hmmmm

Rocket Jones is number 2 on the Google search for "how to meet a guy in the grocery store".

Number 1 is "The Best Places to Meet Gay Men".

I'm not sure what to think about that.

Posted by Ted at 07:15 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 11, 2006

Why is it?

Bosses are "visionary".

Peons are "hallucinatory".

Posted by Ted at 08:43 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

March 10, 2006

Evil I tell you, pure eeeevil!

To all those cheering the "defeat" of President Bush on his stupid idea to let Dubai run American seaports, I have only one thing to say:

Dubya just made you his bitch.

Now Dubai will sell their interest to an American company. A company owned, no doubt, by a wealthy friend of President Bush. Meaning one of his rich friends just got a whole lot richer. And you asked... no, you demanded it. Just like he planned all along.

If it's Halliburton, I will laugh until I cry.

Posted by Ted at 12:14 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

March 08, 2006

No Easter This Year

They found the body.

Note: If this offends you, I don't want to hear it. Go burn down an embassy or something.

Posted by Ted at 11:27 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

Bashing Barry Bonds Brings Boffo Book Sales

I'm admittedly biased because I'm a Giants fan and a Barry Bonds fan, but this latest rash of headlines about Bonds starting to use "a vast array" of performance enhancing drugs in 1998 is bullshit.

The book was written by two newspaper reporters who covered the BALCO steroid scandal. Their sources? Nothing new, just the same trial transcripts, interviews and other documents that Major League Baseball, Congress and law enforcement authorities have had all along. And, you know, Bonds is soooo busted by what's there.

Not.

This is a rehash of old information, hyped to boost book sales. Does Barry Bonds have a history of cheating? I have no idea, but I do know that up to this point, despite numerous investigations and allegations, no one has been able to prove a thing.

Two "reporters" trash someone's name in order to make a buck. What a surprise.

Posted by Ted at 05:15 AM | Comments (4)

March 06, 2006

Playing the game for the sheer joy of it

I was sad when Kirby Puckett was forced to retire from baseball because glaucoma made him blind in one eye. I'm stunned that he's passed away at age 44 from a stroke.

Thank you, Kirby, for all the joy you displayed on the field, and for showing us all that you could be great and still have fun playing the game.

Posted by Ted at 09:09 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Skipping the "make an ugly woman your wife" part

Eat a live bug every morning when you wake up, and nothing worse will happen to you all day long.

Posted by Ted at 05:16 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

March 05, 2006

Play That Funky Music White Boy

70's music.

Do you remember back in old L.A. (Oh, oh, oh)

When everybody drove a Chevrolet (Oh, oh, oh)

Whatever happened to the boy next door

The sun-tanned, crew-cut, All-American male?

Disco. Bee Gees. Tavares. Donna Summer.

Beach baby, beach baby, give me your hand
Give me something that I can remember
Just like before we can walk by the shore in the moonlight.

The radio was filled with cheesy fun like Carl Douglas singing about Kung Fu Fighting and Paper Lace telling us about The Night Chicago Died. Disco Duck. Rubberband Man.

Beach baby, beach baby, there on the sand
From July to the end of September
Surfin' was fun we'd be out in the sun every day.

The Sound of Philadelphia. Average White Band. Wild Cherry. Tower of Power.

Ooooh, I never thought that it could end
Ooooh, and I was everybody's friend
Long hot days
Blue sea haze
Jukebox plays
But now it's fading away

Rick James. Sly and the Family Stone. Earth, Wind & Fire. Marvin Gaye.

We couldn't wait for graduation day (Oh, oh, oh)
We took the car and drove to San Jose (Oh, oh, oh)
That's where you told me that you'd wear my ring
I guess you don't remember anything.

Johnny Cash. Loretta Lynn. Marty Robbins.

Surfin' was fun we'd be out in the sun every day.

Black Sabbath. Robin Trower.

California in the 70's. Freakin' paradise.

Posted by Ted at 08:39 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

March 03, 2006

To my fellow commuter

You drive straight stretches like Shirley Muldowney and you weave in and out of traffic like the Keystone Kops. The fact that you drive a Prius decorated with Habitat for Humanity and Save the Bay stickers doesn't make you an environmentally-conscientious world citizen.

It makes you a clueless prick.

Posted by Ted at 05:27 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

March 02, 2006

Show and a Dinner

On my way home from work this afternoon I stopped at the grocery store. Now normally I enjoy grocery shopping because I like to cook almost as much as I like to eat. The store I usually go to is pretty good, mainly because it's very convenient to get in and out. But it also seems to be a magnet for the mentally ill.

When it's nice out, there's one old nut-lady who sits out front and chatters away at everyone who comes and goes. Occasionally she'll wander inside and count the carts.

A very occasional visitor is "the preacher", who will try his best to strike up a conversation with you, which quickly turns religious. Come along about the second sentence you direct at him, he starts slipping random items into your cart. The first time he did this to me, I asked him what he was doing, and he explained that a good christian man like myself wouldn't begrudge a few groceries to someone in need. I had to laugh because he just grabs whatever is closest and acts like you'll never notice what he's doing. That day he caught me in a mixed-goods aisle and he wanted me to buy him a bottle of maple syrup, a potholder, dental floss and a home pregnancy test. He always blesses you, even when you make him take his stuff out of your cart.

Today was the first time I met the new loon. He's a tall thin guy, and at first I mistook him for a regular customer. He came in as I was headed towards the checkout lanes, and got in line behind me holding a bottle of wine. The lines were all hosed up because someone called in sick and someone couldn't stay late to cover and all that happy nonsense that you get when you try to manage a workforce comprised of motivated (hah!) high school dropouts confronted with that inexplicable rush at shift change. Next thing you know, wine-loon is in the managers face about opening up more registers because (as he grandly swept his arm around to include us all), there were important people waiting, and he should treat his customers better. I had to laugh.

The manager grabbed the wine from the loon and shoo'd him out. He came right back in, still incensed about the lines, and this time followed by lady-nut, who was scolding him for bothering people. They were escorted back outside (gently and nicely, kudos to the manager). When I left, lady-nut was on the pay phone (she spends hours talking to herself) and the loon was taking all the carts from the front of the store and neatly putting them in the cart-corral at the farthest end of the parking lot.

Hilarious.

Posted by Ted at 05:12 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Audiophile

I was cutting fin slots in the new rocket's airframe last night, using a Dremel with a brand new fiberglass reinforced cutting wheel, and as the disk whined it's way through the tubing it occurred to me that the noise was probably exactly like what running a frozen cat through a band saw would sound like.

Posted by Ted at 05:19 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

February 20, 2006

Happy Long Weekend

Hello all, I hope you had a nice weekend. My wife and I travelled south to visit Rachael and see her first college production, Gilbert and Sullivan's The Mikado. It seems that people either love or loath Gilbert and Sullivan, and I'm firmly in the love camp. Naughty humor and moral dilemmas, served up with a heaping helping of satire and sarcasm.

Rachael's kimonos were beautiful.

Liz had to work today, so I built a larger set of shelves for my DVD collection (outgrew the last set) and putzed around the house doing laundry and such. I also watched a couple of movies that I may review later. You know my attitude is "zombies forever", but after the latest mummy jones I've been slaking my thirst for vampire flicks and boy howdy, do I have some doozies to tell you about!

I also have a new banner in mind. Everyone I've told thinks that it's funny, so now I must stretch my photoshop skills to do it justice.

As a designated cronie of the Ministry of Minor Perfidy, I would be remiss not to mention that they're hosting this week's Carnival of the Recipes (apocolyptic aftermath edition).

I now have a Rocket Jones frapper map. Stop by and stick a pin in it. Do the ol' virtual voodoo.

Posting will remain irregular while I continue to deal with some ongoing matters, but I'm still around and occasionally do get a chance to visit my friends on the blogroll.

Take care and have fun. Hope to be back soon.

Posted by Ted at 08:53 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

February 14, 2006

Two thoughts after watching a Japanese Monster movie

First, I would've loved to have been one of the special effects guys on those old movies. Models and miniature sets, explosions and fire everywhere. Too much fun to be called work!

Secondly, every Japanese movie monster got pissed off at something humans did, whether it was intentional or not. The monster's reaction was to immediately begin to destroy everything in its path, and kept the tantrum going until he got his way or someone stronger came along and kicked his ass. I never realized that Godzilla was a muslim.

Posted by Ted at 09:11 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

February 11, 2006

Another new banner found while organizing my hard drive files

I half-expect to find virtual Hoffa buried deep in some forgotten directory.

Posted by Ted at 02:50 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Must be the Winter Olympics

It was rather surreal. Ladies hockey, the arena music starts in and it's La Bamba. So I'm watching Sweden vs. Russia, playing in Italy, and a Mexican folk song sung by an American teenager gets the crowd fired up.

Later they played the Banana Boat song made famous by Belefonte (Deyyyy-oh!).

Even later, I watched the USA ladies dominate the Swiss.

Posted by Ted at 02:37 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

February 10, 2006

Two posts in one day? To what do we attribute this largesse?

This bug, whatever it is, has officially kicked my ass. I've been dueling with it for more than a week, and even took last Friday off in the hopes of getting over it once and for all. No joy. I left work early yesterday, came home and napped, then slept 13 hours last night (not uninterupted, as there were two nocturnal dashes made to the loo), and still felt rotten this morning, so I called in. Bah.

Not that I'll use the "free" time to catch up on blogging, mind you. Unless you want to see the ugly and venomous side of me, 'cuz I'm not in a good mood.

Later.

Posted by Ted at 10:47 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

January 29, 2006

Partial Explanation

So, where the hell have I been? I can hear you asking, or maybe it's just the voices. It's partly complicated, and partly work-related, and partly none of your business (which I realize goes completely contrary to my blogging style, but oh well).

Work related part: If you've gotten your W2's or 1099's already, then find the person responsibile for it in your universe and hug them or buy them lunch, for they probably worked their asses off to get it done. Trust me on this one.

Complicated part: I have claimed the small bedroom upstairs as my own. It was originally my son's bedroom, and then became the sewing room when he left home. When the girls flew the coop left the next, Mom took the big bedroom as her sewing room and the small room became the guest room. Screw that. Guests can sleep on the floor.

The room has been renamed the "North Den" and I'm in the process of moving in. So far it contains an ultra-comfortable couch/hideabed, a large television with DVD and VCR, bookshelves, and my entire collection of cinematic masterpieces.

What it does not contain is a PC, although I tried this weekend to remedy that, but the *#^@&!!! wireless refuses to detect our network. One possible solution is to move the PC into a corner of the sewing room where there is a wired connection to our network. Less than optimal, but not terrible.

I've also been experiencing some wrist pain, ala early warning signs of the dreaded carpal tunnel. I've cut back on my computer time, which means surf time at home because my profession means mucho working with at the office. I have a new wrist brace, which is working well. I'm considering dying it black and adding chrome studs. Or maybe I'll just claim excessive masturbation due to a viagra addiction. Either has to be better than the truth.

None of your business part: self-explanatory, except that it has nothing to do with viagra addiction.

So I'm around, just not as much. Been really, truly, insanely busy. I had some cool movies lined up to watch and then review, but got wonderfully distracted by the Mummy Legacy Collection (watched six Mummy movies since Thursday night).

Not enough hours in a day, not enough years in a lifetime. I've got to get hold of some of those tannah leaves.

Posted by Ted at 05:23 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

January 26, 2006

Fruit of my Loins

For those who may be curious, here's an update on the girls.

Our oldest daughter Robyn is quietly putting the finishing touches on her college education. She's working two jobs, getting good grades, and is looking forward to graduating, after which she'll prosper. I have no doubt about that.

Rachael (Mookie), on the other hand, does nothing quietly. She made the Dean's List in her first semester and is preparing for a three week-long school trip to London this Spring. As exciting as that sounds, she may be even more hyped over a possible summer job. She's been offered a chance to be Wardrobe Mistress at an opera house near Montecello in central Virginia. Besides pay, the job comes with an apartment. A lot of it will be the typical scut work that all newbies have to endure at the start of a career, but all experience is valuable.

Proud Papa, signing off.

Posted by Ted at 12:02 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

January 21, 2006

Snippet a trois

Recently, at my wife's work:

Lady: Those are beautiful earrings.

Wife: Thank you. They were a Christmas present from my husband.

Lady: He's either very nice or he was very naughty.

Wife: He's very nice.

Lady: Then *you* must have been very naughty.

LOL

Posted by Ted at 09:53 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Life is like a box of chocolates...

...skewered onto the pointy nose of the Concorde. It's been insanely busy and hectic around the ol' homestead lately, hence the relative quiet around Rocket Jones. Count your blessings, people.

I have been doing *some* visiting, but at the end of the day I'm usually so burnt out that I just fire up the aggregator and skim sites that way.

What Ahnold said.

Posted by Ted at 09:46 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 15, 2006

That sucked...er, blows

Our power just came back on a little bit ago. It went out early yesterday afternoon. In almost 16 years living here, that 22 hour stretch sans electricity exceeded the old record by about 16 hours.

The culprit is the wind. It's been relentless for the last couple of days, and trees and power lines are down all over the area. Throw in intermittent rain, some blowing snow and bone-chilling wind chill temps, and it's been fun fun fun.

We couldn't get an estimate on how long before power would be restored, so I took matters into my own hands and this morning headed to the grocery store for bags of ice. Not two hours later the lights flickered on. It always happens that way, you just have to use it to your advantage, eh?

In the meantime, our monthly club rocket launch was scrubbed. We can deal with rain and snow and most everything else Mother Nature can fling, but we can't launch in high winds. And of course, today is bright and sunny and the wind is still whipping ass, so no rockets for Ted this weekend.

On the plus side, it's amazing how much stuff you can get done when you're not parked in front of the computer.

Posted by Ted at 03:47 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

January 11, 2006

Didn't we already go through this once?

I talked about Freedom Park in Rosslyn, Virginia, and how one of the exhibits is an actual segment of the Berlin wall (nine complete sections) and an East German guard tower.

For the last couple of days, they've had the street blocked off so that they could remove those pieces of the wall and relocate them to the new home of the Newseum in downtown DC. Not that anyone asked me for my opinion, but I personally think those historic barriers belong in Freedom Park, not in a museum dedicated to news.

Posted by Ted at 05:19 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

January 05, 2006

snippet

My wife calls me on her way to work every morning. From the other day:

Wife: My battery's dead.

Me: How did that happen?

Wife: I don't know.

Me: Did you leave your lights on?

Wife: My cell phone battery, not my car.

Me: Oh.

Wife: You think like a guy.

To be precise, I think like a guy who doesn't own a cell phone.

Posted by Ted at 04:36 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

January 04, 2006

Mildred never bought into the "war bride" excuse

(in the extended entry)

DirtyLittleSecret.jpg

Posted by Ted at 06:54 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 02, 2006

Best of Rocket Jones - 2005 Edition

As they say, read the whole thing.

No, seriously. Rocket Jones is one long, extended highlight.

Although judging from my email, I've already hit bottom in 2006 with the Dick Clark joke.

Go me!

Posted by Ted at 12:02 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

January 01, 2006

Dang, lost that bet

The ball dropped before Dick Clark did.

Posted by Ted at 08:46 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

December 31, 2005

Happy New Year's Eve (Updated)

We'll be spending the afternoon cheering on the Washington Capitals as they take on the hated Philadelphia Flyers. In addition to Mrs. Rocket Ted, Mookie, and our son, we will be joined by Dawn, Nic, and Victor.

Special thanks to Nic for arranging this and getting the tickets. If we get into a brawl with those lowlife inbred Philly drunkards overly-boistrous Flyers fans, I'll make sure to post pictures.

Update: What a game!!! The Capitals won 4-3 in a shootout. Forsberg was amazing, and Ovechkin was even more so. Great company, great times. Happy New Year to everyone!

Oh, and... Yay Hats!!!

Posted by Ted at 06:51 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

December 29, 2005

Probably just me

I'd think it was funny if someone started "Brokeback Blogging".

Posted by Ted at 04:51 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 28, 2005

Taking a break from the donuts

Actor Michael Vale, best known for his appearances on Dunkin' Donuts commericials ("it's time to make the donuts"), has died from complications of diabetes at age 83.

Posted by Ted at 05:51 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

December 27, 2005

If I were Gene Roddenberry

Klingons wouldn't just like pumpkin pie.

They'd go to war over it.

Posted by Ted at 07:52 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Things you wonder about when you're overly tired

I have this brown spot on the back of my hand, below the base of my thumb knuckle.

Liz thinks it's an age spot, but I've had it for years, and it's the only one. I look at it, and wonder if all the caucasion skin cells on my hand didn't get together and decide that all the darker skin cells should be segregated into their own little area. If they did, and the darker skin cells ever decide to rebel, they're sitting right at the base of my thumb, where they can take over an important digit and really raise hell.

I just wish they could all get along, like on my shoulders, where the freckles have co-existed peacefully for years with the rest of me.

Posted by Ted at 05:11 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

December 26, 2005

Christmas is over, it's time to get back to normal

New banner, same old attitude.

Posted by Ted at 04:41 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

December 23, 2005

Simple Solution

So Italy issues an arrest warrant for 22 American CIA agents.

What will probably happen is that we'll ignore it, but wouldn't it be fun instead to kidnap a bunch of Italian aid relief workers in Iraq? Demand a dismissal of the charges or we'll make them sit in a cold room and listen to disco or something equally evil. Trust me, the Italian government will cave.

Posted by Ted at 03:25 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Good thing I took speed reading

Next to one of those ubiquitous "How Is My Driving?" signs on the back of a truck, some wag had scrawled in the dirt, "Like Steve McQueen".

Posted by Ted at 04:57 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 22, 2005

Cliche Theater

Never mind, you've probably already heard it a million times.

Posted by Ted at 05:19 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 21, 2005

Joke

A crusty old Sergeant Major found himself at a gala event, hosted by a local liberal arts college. There was no shortage of extremely young, idealistic ladies in attendance, one of whom approached the Sergeant Major for conversation.

She said, "Excuse me, Sergeant Major, but you seem to be a very serious man. Is something bothering you?"

"Negative, ma'am," the Sergeant Major said, "Just serious by nature."

The young lady looked at his awards and decorations and said, "It looks like you have seen a lot of action."

The Sergeant Major's short reply was, "Yes, ma'am, a lot of action."

The young lady, tiring of trying to start up a conversation, said, "You know, you should lighten up a little. Relax and enjoy yourself."

The Sergeant Major just stared at her in his serious manner.

Finally the young lady said, "You know, I hope you don't take this the wrong way, but when is the last time you had sex?"

The Sergeant Major looked at her and replied, "1955."

She said, "Well, there you are. You really need to chill out and quit taking everything so seriously! I mean, no sex since 1955! Isn't that a little extreme?"

The Sergeant Major, glancing at his watch, said in his matter-of-fact voice, "You think so? It's only 2130 now."

Posted by Ted at 12:08 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

How did I miss this?

Did you know that Al Zarquawi was live-blogging the Iraqi elections?

Thanks to Transterrestrial Musings for the pointer.

Posted by Ted at 05:47 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Can She Fit In My Coup?

I'm happy to announce that until further notice, Rocket Jones will now be a group blog.

I'm still the only writer, but I'm trying to shame myself into losing these extra pounds I'm carrying.

Posted by Ted at 05:02 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 20, 2005

Merry Christmas Officer

I got pulled over this morning on my way to work. I was on I-395, less than a mile from my exit, when the blues started flashing behind the grille of an unmarked trooper car.

I pulled out my wallet and license, opened my glove box and pulled out the envelope full o' stuff that came with the car (just bought it last week, remember?), turned off the radio and rolled down the window, and waited.

Me: Good morning.

Trooper: Good morning. Do you know why I pulled you over?

Now, seriously, is there any answer to this other than "no"? How many people actually admit that they were doing something wrong?

Trooper: You didn't realize that you were speeding and passing people?

Me: No sir.

Ok, now we've established that I'm a liar and we both know it. In this situation, it's expected. I've handed him my license and and going through all the paperwork that came with my car. I know that there has to be some sort of registration in there. I find *three* different ones for my old truck, but nothing for this car. The whole time, he's talking to me.

Trooper: You didn't see me? You passed me and I pulled in behind you and paced you for a while as you passed that whole string of cars.

Me (still riffling through papers): No sir.

Trooper: You were travelling at speeds up to 75 miles per hour.

Me (all surprised): Really?

Finally, I find something pink that looks official, and it's my temporary registration. I hand it over, he tells me to stay in the car, and goes back to his troopermobile. I do a little mental math (yeah, I can afford the ticket), and laugh at the situation. I'm pissed at myself for being stupid. Did I notice him back there? Of course I did. Did I know he was a cop? Nope. Now, I have a question for him as well. Did he realize that he was my wingman as we strafed that line of fighters parked on the enemy tarmac passed that line of cars? I think not. A wingman wouldn't treat his buddy this way.

The trooper came back and handed me my license and registration. He didn't write me a ticket, just told me to be more aware of what I was doing and what was going on around me. It probably helped that I've only had one ticket in the last fifteen years, and it wasn't for speeding (you don't have to go fast when chasing down feral grannies).

I hope that the kindness was because he was filled with holiday spirit, because it's a little frightening to think that being a clueless idiot excuses that kind of driving. I didn't ask, because sometimes I *do* know when to keep my mouth shut.

I wished him a Merry Christmas and was on my way.

Posted by Ted at 05:35 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

December 19, 2005

Ouch

Quote from an editorial by Mark Steyn:

Dean arguing that America can't win in Iraq, Barbara Boxer demanding the troops begin withdrawing on Dec. 15, John Kerry accusing American soldiers of terrorizing Iraqi women and children, Jack Murtha declaring that the U.S. Army is utterly broken. Pepper 'em with a handful of "Praise be to Allahs" and any one of those statements could have been uttered by Zarqawi.

Found at Transterrestrial Musings.

Posted by Ted at 12:18 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

A question for those smarter than I

I've seen a new headache remedy lately on commercials. It looks a little like a stick deoderant, and you rub it across your forehead to deliver whatever anti-headache medicine it contains.

A few questions arise:

1. Headaches occur within the brain, correct? How is rubbing medicine on your skin going to help, since even after being absorbed there's that little barrier called your skull between the medicine and your brain?

2. If it absorbs into your bloodstream, wouldn't it make more sense to rub it in under your arm or on the inside of your thigh, where major arteries lie? It seems that the medicine would be absorbed and distributed quicker. Even along your jugular makes more sense.

Ok, so "few" = two. Got any answers?

Posted by Ted at 06:03 AM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

Snippet redux

Yesterday:

Wife: They cleared another patch of woods on Minnievale.

Ted: What?!?!? Jeeezus, what are they building now?

Wife: Another church.

Ted: This area is going to hell.

We looked at each other and started giggling.

Posted by Ted at 05:38 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

December 18, 2005

It's the most surreal time of the year

Rachael had one of her college friends up for the weekend while Liz and I were out of town. When we got back this afternoon, Rachael matter-of-factly mentioned that they'd had a few more friends over yesterday and had wound up with a stripper's pole set up in the living room. I chuckled and the conversation moved on to other things.

Later, while putting away luggage, I found a large container leaning in the corner of the living room. It was a stripper pole set that was given to Rachael's friend as a belated birthday present!

So yeah, in Rocket Jones' living room were pretty teenage college girls doing some pole dancing. And I'm not posting pictures. Neener neener.

Posted by Ted at 08:23 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

'Tis the Season

Daughter Rachael (aka Mookie) is home for Christmas break, so my wife and I decided to take advantage and left her to take care of the remaining children dogs while we got the hell outta Dodge.

Liz had some free hotel nights saved up, so this morning I find myself blogging from Martinsburg, West Virginia courtesy of the free WiFi offered by the hotel.

"Almost Heaven" is a whole 'nother world compared to the DC metro area. We pretty much finished off Christmas shopping yesterday at a couple of malls in the area, and it was mostly pleasant and painless (aside from the constant bells - I'm beginning to really hate the Salvation Army). Even the lines were short.

Mental note: Never enter another Old Navy. They're assholes and ripoff artists playing the bait-and-switch game. We were polite and pleasant and got great satisfaction from leaving a heaping pile o' clothes at the register and walking out. We weren't going to let that spoil our good mood.

I did say "mostly pleasant" though, because as the day wore on, people were notably more aggresive and you could tell that nerves were frayed. After a late lunch/early dinner, we went to a super WalMart for stocking stuffers and such and I saw what happens when grannies go feral.

Two elderly ladies were racing (for elderly ladies, that is) for the short line from different directions. As the last second, one cuts off the other one with a bold move and drags her cart into line and snags the coveted spot. I watched, fascinated, as the loser of the race began repeatedly banging her cart into the other lady's cart. I was conflicted, because these two frail women could have really hurt each other, yet I was hoping they'd escallate and really get into it. I was tempted to run back into toys and grab a couple sets of clearance-priced talking Hulk Hands and letting them duke it out. But, alas, I lost my wife in the teeming throng again and had to begin the search pattern to find where she'd wandered off to.

At one point, some sales lady laughed at me as I waited in the cosmetics aisle and said I looked like I didn't want to be standing there. I told her she was crazy, that I *loved* that aisle, because it was occupied by me and my wife alone, we were out of the milling crowds and I wasn't dodging forty other shoppers just to get from one end to the other. One young lady did try to enter our refuge, but she left as I started fanning my ass and loudly appologized to my wife for having such horrible gas.

It's a jungle out there, and I'm not above a little chemical warfare. Truth be told though, it was psychological warfare. Purely a decoy move.

So yes, I loved my blessedly empty little cosmetics aisle, my oasis of calm. I was inspired enough to wonder why nobody had ever done a WalMart of the Living Dead movie (redundant?).

But we survived the day with our sanity and cheer, and I'm reminded once again why I've never shopped during the month of December for at least the last ten years.

I hope all my Secret Santa buds like their gifts. They're all getting makeup.

Posted by Ted at 08:12 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

December 17, 2005

Insight

I can see why people might confuse Aspercreme with Preperation H.

Posted by Ted at 08:23 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

December 14, 2005

What is a Billion?

This came from the December issue of our local Community Connection Magazine:

The next time you hear a politician use the word "billion" casually, think about whether you want the politician spending your tax money.

A billion is a difficult number to comprehend, but one advertising agency did a good job of putting that figure into perspective in one of its releases.

  • A billion seconds ago it was 1959.
  • A billion minutes ago Jesus was alive.
  • A billion days ago our ancestors were living in the stone age.
  • A billion years ago no one walked on two feet on earth.
  • A billion dollars ago was only 8 hours and 20 minutes at the rate the government spends it.

No, I haven't checked the figures. I can get the point without being anal about it.

Posted by Ted at 12:09 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

December 13, 2005

Pigskin Prestidigitation

Not really, but I like the way that title rolls off the tongue.

Playoffs begin this week in the Blogger fantasy football league. Mostly by managing to stay healthy, the Rockets finished the season in second place with an 11-3 record. One loss was to the first place finisher, and two were to the team that ended up in third.

I get a bye in the first round of playoffs (go me!) and then we'll see what happens. My biggest challenge all year has been deciding which pair of middling receivers to play each week, because on any given Sunday some random two of them will have a great game, and as often as not I've left them on the bench.

Celebrating and/or whining forthcoming.

Posted by Ted at 05:45 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

December 12, 2005

We all know that I'm easily amused

I think it's funny that there's a baseball player named Merkin Valdez.

The "merkin" part, anyways.

Posted by Ted at 05:40 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

December 11, 2005

Three Rules for the DJ

I was asked to DJ for my wife's office Christmas party last night. Christmas music during cocktails and dinner and then dance music afterwards. Because it's a rather diverse group of people ranging from their 20's to 60's, putting together a playlist for dancing was a challenge, but one that I'd dealt with before when I used to DJ at the American Legion for "family night" dances. I assumed that the older people would leave earlier, so tried to front load the playlist towards them. Towards the end, I set up a bunch of commonly requested songs. Also, so that I could enjoy the party too, it was suggested that I just bring some CD's that I could put on and let play, rather than sit there and work. So with that in mind, I put together a few dance CD's containing everything from country to funk to rock. It went well enough, but I was reminded of the DJ rules:

1. Never leave your equipment alone, because people will play with it.

When the dance music started, a few folks decided that it was too loud and turned down the volume so that they could talk. In turn, the folks who wanted to dance would crank it back up. It got to be a silly little pissing contest.

Later, the people dancing wanted more volume, but since I'd brought a limited setup rather than the whole system, we had the volume maxed out. It wasn't bone thumping, but it was good enough. Well, except for the yahoos who managed to shut the whole thing down *three times* by fiddling with buttons at random.

2. In a mixed group like this, everyone is going to hate something you play.

The younger group wanted more fast rock, the older folks wanted more country and slow dance music. Of course, everyone tells the DJ how lousy his music choices are, at different times depending on what's currently playing.

3. The DJ is always the last to leave, and nobody helps haul the equipment back to your car.

Oh well, I had fun anyway, and there were several couples dancing. For all the griping, I did notice that most everyone knew the music too and there were plenty of people "dancing" in their seats.

The playlists are in the extended entry, for the bored and/or curious.

Dance 1

The Motown Song - Rod Stewart
Dela - Johnny Clegg
Lady Love - Lou Rawls
What A Wonderful World - Louis Armstrong
Shake Your Groove Thing - Peaches & Herb
Give Me the Night - George Benson
Boot Scootin' Boogie - Brooks & Dunn
Guitars, Cadillacs - Dwight Yoakum
Behind Closed Doors - Buddy Rich
Sure Feels Good - Elvin Bishop
She Drives Me Crazy - Fine Young Cannibals
Walk Like An Egyptian - The Bangles
You Sexy Thing - Hot Chocolate
The Game of Love - Michelle Branch & Carlos Santana
Heaven - Los Lonely Boys
Tub Thumping - Chumbawumba
Big Yellow Taxi - Counting Crows
Waterfalls - TLC
I Can't Help Falling In Love - UB40

Dance 2

Baby Likes to Rock It - The Tractors
Bing Bang Boom - Highway 101
Crazy - Patsy Cline
Don't Be Stupid - Shania Twain
Down at the Twist and Shout - Mary Chapin Carpenter
The Truth About Men - Tracy Byrd
Rush Rush - Paula Abdul
Moonlight Feels Right - Starbuck
Dancing in the Moonlight - King Harvest
Together Again - Janet Jackson
Your Love Keeps Lifting Me - Jackie Wilson
Let's Get It On - Marvin Gaye
The Boys Are Back In Town - The Busboys
Brick House - The Commodores
September - Earth, Wind & Fire
Never My Love - 5th Dimension
1985 - Bowling for Soup
We Got the Beat - The Go-Go's
All-Star - SmashMouth
Unskinny Bop - Poison

Dance 3

Have I Told You Lately - Emilio (Spanish version - very beautiful)
Wild Wild Life - Wailing Souls
Hillbilly Rap - Neal McCoy
Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye - Neal McCoy
I'll Take You There - Staple Singers
Give Me Just A Little More Time - Chairmen of the Board
Oh Girl - Chi-Lites
Short Skirt, Long Jacket - Cake
Semi-Charmed Life - Third Eye Blind
As I Lay Me Down to Sleep - Sophie B. Hawkins
Love Shack - B52's
Y.M.C.A. - Village People
If You Wanna Be Happy for the Rest of Your Life - Jimmy Soul
Going Going Gone - Neal McCoy
Head Carolina, Tails California - Jo Dee Messina
Heart of Rock & Roll - Huey Lewis & the News
American Woman - The Guess Who
Rockin' Me - Steve Miller Band
Old Time Rock & Roll - Bob Seger

Posted by Ted at 11:21 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

December 10, 2005

Busted (my ass, that is)

Youngest daughter Mookie is home for Christmas break, and of course she brought back most everything she owns. I went out to help haul her crap from the car to the house and slipped on the ice. There are two knots on my right shin from where that leg slammed into the car tire, my leg is throbbing and I think it's going to turn a nice Christmassy blue and greenish as it bruises.

Ho.

Posted by Ted at 12:30 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

December 07, 2005

New Banner

Found this in an out of the way folder. I'd forgotten all about it.

Posted by Ted at 04:40 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

December 02, 2005

I tried, really I did

The subject line said:

Excercise a little patience and read through my letter

I hate exercise, especially when the "delete" button is right there. Buh-bye Spammer.

Posted by Ted at 05:27 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

December 01, 2005

I should've been a headline writer

The headline reads "Bush fails to allay Democrats' doubts about US Iraq policy", and in the story we hear about (surprise, surprise) Pelosi, Kerry, Kennedy and the usual gang of idiots bitching and moaning about nothing that makes actual sense.

I think I'm looking forward to the end of President Bush's term in office, just because it'll be interesting to see what happens to this cult of hatred that the Democratic party has embraced once their only apparent reason for being is gone.

Suggested alternate headline: "President's Speech Fails to Stimulate Testicular Growth in Sheep"

Posted by Ted at 05:41 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

November 30, 2005

Just 'cuz

An x-ray of a seahorse.

seahorse_xray.jpg

Posted by Ted at 05:45 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Alternate Reality

Kidnappings have started up again in Iraq. I sincerely hope that the current hostages being held are all freed safe and sound, to return home to their loved ones.

In a statement, Christian Peacemaker Teams said it strongly opposed the U.S. invasion of Iraq and blamed the kidnapping on coalition forces.

"We are angry because what has happened to our teammates is the result of the actions of the U.S. and U.K. government due to the illegal attack on Iraq and the continuing occupation and oppression of its people," the group said.

Now as for the organization itself, fuck 'em. Anyone that damned delusional shouldn't be sending members into a war zone, and since they're "peaceful", who gives a rats ass if they're angry.

Words can trump guns, but only if both sides want to talk.

Which kind of brings up my next point. These folks claim that they're not "evangelical Christians". Ok, fair enough. But what they claim isn't the point, it's what the bad guys believe that counts. At least that's what we're told by these anti-war groups. Because, you know, they hate us because we don't understand them well enough.

I understand the terrorists enough to know that they don't want Christians in the war zone. They don't want anyone in Iraq who isn't on their side, and being anti-war or anti-US doesn't mean you're on their side, it doesn't even make you their friend. It just makes you a potential target.

Posted by Ted at 04:41 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

November 27, 2005

Ringtone idea

Rachael got a new cell phone and everyone agrees that the default ring is really obnoxious. I was amazed to find out that they charge $2.50 for each new ringtone you download for the phone. What a racket.

Now imagine if every time you got a phone call, your phone started reading the Miranda rights.

You have the right to remain silent. Everything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law...

Oh yeah, I'd pay for that. Anyone know how to create your own ringtones?

Of course, Google is your friend.

Posted by Ted at 06:31 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

November 26, 2005

Oh Bother

Translation: "#!~*$*&#@!%~*#@#!!!!!!!"

I'd written over 5,000 words for my NaNoWriMo story since Wednesday night, yet thanks to my own stupidity and an odd quirk in Windows XP's "Save to disk/Open With" feature, none of it was actually ever permanently saved, even though I hit the save button rather frequently.

I'm rather annoyed right now.

Posted by Ted at 08:18 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

November 23, 2005

Shifting Gears

In Heinlein's Starship Troopers, the main character mentions that while on a long march, the troops "rest" by changing the pace from march to double-time and so on.

Reality is that stuff that keeps getting in the way when you're busy being a social butterfly online.

In high school, I had a gym teacher who used to say the same thing.

I'm going to try it for awhile here on Rocket Jones, even though personal experience already tells me that they were both full of crap.

Truth is, I've been trying to keep up with too many plates on too many sticks lately, and I'm tired.

As daughter Mookie noted, I've posted nearly every day for two and a half years.

Weary.


plates.jpg

Examining my priorities, I find that there are some adjustments to be made. I've got family to take care of, and school to attend to, and rockets to build, and more going on that never gets mentioned here. I've let some important things slip that never should have, and projects that I'm going to try and salvage before it's too late.

I'm not going away, but the focus here at Rocket Jones will be shifting for a time. I'll be trying that "changing pace" thing that I mentioned above, even though I'm pretty sure that my gym coach was lying to me.

Keep checking back, because I plan to keep posting, but there will be more emphasis on things like the Star Cards series and cult flick and B-movie reviews and a couple of new features that I've been working on.

I will be posting my NaNoWriMo work when it's done. I've got, what, seven days to go? I'm a little better than halfway to the goal of 50,000 words. I'm planning to put a big dent into the remainder this holiday weekend.

Interestingly enough, I was in the middle of writing this post when I discovered that I'd gotten a trackback from Michelle Malkin for the Carnival of the Recipes. So that's one from Instapundit (way back when) and now this. If that isn't encouragement to keep plugging away, I don't know what is.

At some point, I will decide that my batteries are sufficiently recharged and I'll return to my regular Rocket Jonesian blogging, but for now I need a break.

My gym coach also tried to tell me that running was fun. Lying bastard.

Posted by Ted at 07:09 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

November 16, 2005

This doesn't surprise me

From an email sent to me by a coworker:

For those of you who are not aware, North Dakota, southwestern Montana, and parts of Colorado got hit with their first blizzard of the season a couple of weeks ago. This text is from the county emergency manager out in the western part of North Dakota state after the storm.

WEATHER BULLETIN

Up here in the Northern Plains we just recovered from a Historic event --- may I even say a "Weather Event" of "Biblical Proportions" --- with a historic blizzard of up to 24" inches of snow and winds to 50 MPH that broke trees in half, stranded hundreds of motorists in lethal snow banks, closed all roads, isolated scores of communities and cut power to 10's of thousands.
- George Bush did not come…
- FEMA staged nothing…
- No one howled for the government…
- No one even uttered an expletive on TV…
- Nobody demanded $2,000 debit cards…
- No one asked for a FEMA Trailer House…
- No news anchors moved in…
- We just melted snow for water, sent out caravans to pluck people out of
snow engulfed cars, fired up wood stoves, broke out coal oil lanterns or
Aladdin lamps and put on an extra layer of clothes…

Even though a Category "5" blizzard of this scale has never fallen this early... we know it can happen and how to deal with it ourselves.

Everybody is fine.

Snopes has more background. It's based on some truth, and after having lived through five North Dakota winters (and many many whiteout blizzards), this strikes me as pretty much the NoDak attitude I remember.

Posted by Ted at 05:56 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

November 15, 2005

I forgot to mention...

We passed a gas station today selling regular for $1.99 a gallon.

Posted by Ted at 07:33 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

Little bit of a family emergency thing going on (updated)

First: Robyn and Rachael, if you call, call Mom's cell phone between 12:45 and 1:15 and I'll give you details. Any other time, you'll just get voice mail.

Gist: My wife Liz was taken to the hospital for severe abdominal pain yesterday morning (luckily, she works next door in a medical practice). When things weren't moving quickly enough, then shuffled her to the ER and called me.

Lots of tests and scans and rays later, they've ruled out some things and have plenty of supporting data for their primary diagnosis, but no solid confirmation. It was looking likely that she'd be having surgery last night, but as test after test came back that option was eliminated. They sent us home last night around 1am and I made a followup appointment with her doctor for this morning.

If this turns out to be what Liz and I both thought it was from the beginning, then she's going to be very tender and in pain for a few days. Bottom line is, she had a rough yesterday, but it looks like everything is going to be ok.

Good thoughts and prayers never hurt. Thanks.

I read somewhere once that you should never end a letter on a downer, so I'll mention now that I just saved a bunch of money on my car insurance.

Update: Liz has had eight abdominal surgeries over the last twenty years, which tends to build up a lot of scar tissue. The doctor is assuming (and this is what we first suspected) that Liz ripped loose a big chunk of the adhesions. That means that it's time for another laboroscopy (might not be spelled right), which is where they go in through her belly button with a fiber optic camera and a laser and just cut away all the spidery webby scarring that's built up inside. She sees a surgeon Monday to set it up. In the meantime, as long as she doesn't overdo she'll feel a bit better every day.

Thanks for the good thoughts and kind words, everyone.

Posted by Ted at 07:47 AM | Comments (13) | TrackBack

November 12, 2005

I don't ask for much

It snuck up on me, but I'm the host of the next Carnival of the Recipes. So please send in your recipes to recipe -dot- carnival -at- gmail -dot- com so I have something to work with.

Posted by Ted at 06:36 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

I only show you the flattering ones

I mean, I didn't post the one that said I was Coconut Cream Yogurt or anything. This one I found at annika's.

(moved to the extended entry)









All-Around Smart


You are all-around smart. Essentially, that means that you are a good combination of your own knowledge and experience, along with having learned through instruction - and you are equally as good with theoretical things as you are with real-world, applied things. You have a well-rounded brain.


0% applied intelligence
20% natural intelligence
















Take this quiz at QuizGalaxy.com

Yay Hats! (Trust me, that's all-around smart)

Posted by Ted at 01:45 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Didja know?

Munuviana (our group of Mu.Nu blogs for those who didn't know) is the largest Movable Type installation in the world.

We just moved over to a pair of new servers to help handle the workload. Pixy rocks.

Posted by Ted at 01:18 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 11, 2005

Old folk wit and wisdom

I don't know about the "day late" part, but lately I seem to be "a dollar short" quite often.

Does that make me a half-wit?

Posted by Ted at 04:30 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Pat Robertson

Ever notice that these televangelists all seem to live forever? I'm betting that God doesn't really want 'em around either.

What a jackass.

Posted by Ted at 02:15 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

November 10, 2005

Just in case anyone was wondering...

I really, really, really hate doing drywall.

Posted by Ted at 03:19 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

November 09, 2005

Progress Report

As of this morning, I am still unable to squirt blood out of my eyes.

Updates as they become available.

Posted by Ted at 12:05 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Aye Laddie, I have the legs for a kilt

After a tiebreaker question too!

You scored as William Wallace. The great Scottish warrior William Wallace led his people against their English oppressors in a campaign that won independence for Scotland and immortalized him in the hearts of his countrymen. With his warrior's heart, tactician's mind, and poet's soul, Wallace was a brilliant leader. He just wanted to live a simple life on his farm, but he gave it up to help his country in its time of need.

Maximus

67%

William Wallace

67%

Captain Jack Sparrow

63%

James Bond, Agent 007

54%

Batman, the Dark Knight

54%

Neo, the "One"

50%

Indiana Jones

50%

The Terminator

46%

Lara Croft

46%

El Zorro

46%

The Amazing Spider-Man

42%

Which Action Hero Would You Be? v. 2.0
created with QuizFarm.com

Seen over at the Llamabutchers.

Posted by Ted at 11:37 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

I keep getting them confused

In the Virginia Governors race, did the child-molesting heroin addict win? Or was it the devil-worshipping serial killer?

When there's that much mud being slung, I get disgusted with both parties. I voted for Potts, the independent from FunWinchester.

Posted by Ted at 05:26 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

November 08, 2005

You knew someone would want him

TOAvs.jpg

Click for a size worthy of Terrell Owens.

Posted by Ted at 04:16 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

And yet oddly appropriate for election day

I was heading home from work and just pulling into the local school to vote, when this radio commercial came on:

Young Lady: Dad, do you love me?

Dad: You know I do.

YL: Would you do anything for me?

Dad: You know I would.

YL: Would you run into a burning building for me?

Dad: Of course. *chuckles* Do you want to borrow the car?

YL: No Dad, I want you to get a colonoscopy.

I almost hit the car next to me as I parked, I was laughing so hard. Yepper, Dad, nothing says "I love you" like taking one up the ol' exhaust pipe.

Do it for the children.

Posted by Ted at 04:09 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

November 06, 2005

Snark of indeterminate accuracy

The Left won't begin to take domestic terrorism seriously until Starbucks' start blowing up.

Posted by Ted at 01:49 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

November 04, 2005

I can forgive the whole nuclear weapon thing, but this is a bit much to ask

20477.jpg

You inhumane bastard.

Posted by Ted at 09:04 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Ew.

I just deleted a spam email from "Glamour Shots" for holiday family portraits. Isn't that the company that specializes in sexy pinup style photography?

I feel like I need to go scrub my monitor now.

Posted by Ted at 12:55 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 03, 2005

I was sleeping too much anyway

I'm doing that National Novel Writing Month insanity.

I haven't decided if I'm going to post chapters as I finish them or not.

Rachael is insisting that my story include zombies. I've been known to write erotica (hey, Penthouse counts dammit!). An interesting fusion idea occurs, but the guys over at the Ministry are already debating related details, so I think (probably) not.

Other folks who are crazy too:

Buckethead
JohnL
Dawn
Barb
Pratt
Brandon

More ink than sense, as my Dad would say.

Posted by Ted at 04:38 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Play nicely while I'm occupied elsewhere

I'm really swamped right now between work and school and home life, so posting may be light for a few days. In the meantime, here's a picture for you:

earsshut.jpg

Leave a caption in the comments and who knows, maybe I'll award a prize or something to the best.

Posted by Ted at 04:17 AM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

November 01, 2005

Boo!

Looking at the counters, I see that Rocket Jones went over 300,000 page visits last night. Thanks to everyone, even you bots.

Posted by Ted at 04:39 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

October 31, 2005

Banner

That one up there kinda sucks, don't it?

Update: Not that one. That one's cool. I'm talking about the ick one from before.

Posted by Ted at 12:14 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

October 30, 2005

Commercial Criticism

DirecTV has this spot that's been on heavy rotation during football games that shows this cute 4 year old kid coming in to see his dad.

"Dad, can you read me a story?"

The kid notices the TV and looking crestfallen, says, "Oh, football."

And dad, playing the hero, tells his tot that "I can freeze time" with a snap of his finger and a clandestine touch of the remote.

Oh puh-leeze.

Today's four year olds know what the freakin' freeze control is. Hell, by that age they've already hacked the passworded parental control block.

Better check up on older sister, dad. The kid is distracting you for a reason. "Read me a story?" Ground the little scamster and go find the mastermind. Catch 'em red handed, administer punishments.

Then watch your football game uninterupted. As it should be.

Posted by Ted at 07:33 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Font Assistance Needed

A friend is looking for a "Thomas Jefferson" style font, where the "s" is written almost like an uncrossed small letter "f" (sample here). This style was used for early printed versions of the Declaration of Independence.

I've found a font designed based on Jefferson's handwriting, but it has the normal "s" and it's not what he wants.

If you can point me to the right place, font fanatics, I'd be most obliged.

Posted by Ted at 03:40 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

October 29, 2005

Rocket Jones Trick or Treating Tip

Kids, if you see one of these on the front porch:

doperpumpkin.jpg

Just head right on by to the next house, because you can pretty much count on their candy already being gone.

I'd pass on the brownies too, if they offer.

Posted by Ted at 08:02 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Fashion Tips? From me? Oh you poor, misguided soul...

Somehow, Rocket Jones is number 1 on Google for "how to dress up as buckethead".

I know this because someone got here by doing just that search. Either a lost lamb or a really, really stupid bot.

Posted by Ted at 07:29 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 28, 2005

It would explain a few things

Do you think Captain Kirk was overcompensating all that time?

My last comment on the subject, I promise.

Posted by Ted at 12:11 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

More diverse than we ever knew

George Takei, best known as Mr. Sulu of the original Star Trek, has transported out of the closet.

It's kind of a shame that this is still considered news.

Posted by Ted at 05:04 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

October 27, 2005

Blind to the Irony

This line, from a story about Israeli troops arresting a senior leader of Islamic Jihad:

[Hamas] has largely scaled back its attacks since the truce declaration.

So I guess the word truce now means "we won't murder as many of you as before."

Posted by Ted at 02:20 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Farewell, Old Friend

My drop light died last night. I've had that thing for somewhere around 30 years, it was one of the old fashioned light bulb types. I've got the portable halogen setups as well, but sometimes the old drop light was exactly what was needed. Now I've got to replace it, which means a trip to the hardware store. Yay!

Posted by Ted at 06:12 AM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

Go White Sox

Congrats on winning the World Series. I didn't have a dog in this hunt, because I don't particularly follow either Chicago or Houston. If the Astros would've won, I'd have been happy for them as well.

But the good Chicago team won. You know, the non-loser ones.

Posted by Ted at 06:10 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

October 25, 2005

Need a laugh?

WWII, as an online interactive game:

deGaulle: eisenhower ur worthless come help me quick
Eisenhower: i cant do **** til rosevelt gives me an army
paTTon: yah hurry the fock up
Churchill: d00d im gettin pounded
deGaulle: this is fockin weak u guys suck
*deGaulle has left the game.*

And it just gets better from there.

Follow the links over at The Ministry of Minor Perfidy and read the whole thing. Warning though, your co-workers will be looking in to see why you're making those strangled choking noises at your desk.

Posted by Ted at 10:54 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Snippet

My wife and I, discussing an idiot she had to deal with at her workplace:

Me: Welcome to Stupidit-- Welcome to Stupidititt-- Welcome to Stupidville.

Wife: And you're their spokesman.

Sometimes, I'm their king.

Posted by Ted at 08:24 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

October 24, 2005

Cleverly hidden for maximum sneakiness

AirportTerrorist.jpg

Posted by Ted at 08:02 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

October 23, 2005

I gots me programmin' mojo on

I stayed up until midnight last night, happily hacking away at this strange new universe called PHP. This morning, my body followed it's normal weekday routine and woke me up at 4am. Knowing I had more homework to catch up with, I jumped right into functions, arrays, objects, string manipulation and all that other geeky wonderfulness. It's big fun, peoples, and if you don't think so, then odds are good that your job will never be outsourced to India.

Posted by Ted at 08:33 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Just throwing this out there

I've almost completely switched over to the new PC and no longer have Yahoo Messenger. Now I'm using something called GAIM that the kids installed for me (I needed it for an online job interview). If you have a compatible IM service, give me a holler at "RocketTed".

Update: Ok, thanks to my daughter for clearing a few things up in the comments. GAIM is a free "universal" IM utility that is AOL messenger and Yahoo compatible, as well as a few others. I've got a Yahoo account, but for some reason the new PC will not let me open it. I'll work on that as I get the chance.

Posted by Ted at 08:25 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

October 22, 2005

Tonight, I do the dance of happy

This evening, after countless hours of work, I have managed to install Apache, PHP and MySQL onto my PC. More importantly, I've convinced them to get along (Apache had decided to roll over and play dead for a while), so that I can now do my homework (PHP class) at home. There's a reason we mainframe programmers have a systems shop to handle crap like this.

I'm having a magical weekend.

Posted by Ted at 08:47 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

October 21, 2005

Certainty

There's always been a degree of "if it bleeds it leads" thinking in the media, and the local versions are no exception. Mostly though, I tended towards thinking that the more outrageous stupidity was due to lesser talents being at the local level. After seeing a piece on last night's broadcast, I'm no longer sure.

A wanted member of the gang MS13 was apprehended in the area, apparently a very bad hombre. It was a peaceful arrest, probably due to the extreme amount of firepower the police deployed to get this guy.

Afterwards, the breathless reporter interviewed other residents of the apartment complex where the guy was arrested. Most notable was the sloppy and amatuerish editing, all designed to make it sound like Jack the Ripper himself had been lurking in their midst. But if you listened to what people were actually saying, you noticed that the guy was quiet, kept to himself, wasn't bothering anyone. In short, he was laying low. The reporter was falling all over herself to find someone, anyone, who would claim that he was terrorizing the neighborhood.

The capper was when they showed the door of the apartment where the guy was apprehended.

Reporter's voice-over: This is the apartment where the arrest was made, number 76. Note that 7+6=13, and he belonged to the gang MS13!

No word on whether the residents of apartments 13, 49, 58, 67, 85, or 94 were taken into custody as well

Posted by Ted at 05:27 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

October 20, 2005

Uh, no. Dumbass.

So the NBA implements a dress code in an effort to cut down on the hiphop gangbanger look. Whatever. I'm sorry, you pay these guys millions a year to play a game, and then expect them to not be flamboyant? Your entire marketing strategy is based on individual stars.

And then Marcus Camby (who, incidentally, has a guaranteed multi-year contract paying him around $10 million per), claims that players should receive a clothing stipend to be able to afford the new clothes.

Proof positive that you don't have to be smart to play in the NBA, just tall.

Posted by Ted at 06:04 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Look at me, I'm *this* big!

According to Pixy, MuNu is now considerably larger en toto than Instapundit.

If I were a woman, I would now ask if this blog made me look fat.

Posted by Ted at 05:42 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Infinite monkeys on infinite typewriters

Just a few random thoughts...

Yesterday at work I got a new 17" flatscreen LCD monitor, just because I asked for one. I wish it worked that way at home, but then I suppose y'all wouldn't be helping to pay for it.

Canadian visitors can stop snickering now. I figure the Aussies are still mad at me because of yesterday's eHarmony joke.

When making a meat sandwich, try a crank or two of fresh cracked pepper on it. It makes a world of difference.

I'm having a hard time being concerned about bird flu. If it does avalanche into an epidemic, well, that's also called "thinning the herd". And for those who're worried that one group will be more affected than another, well (again), that's the way Mother Nature works.

It's easy to type the above because I'm in a low-risk group.

I'm less than impressed with hockey coverage on the Outdoor Life Network. The other night the New York Rangers played the Montreal Canadiens, a classic matchup. Instead, we got reruns of the 2004 BBQ Championship Tour or some such nonsense.

Congratulations, by the way, to the ladies of Squeal of Approval for their win in the finals. Those ribs looked gooooooood.

Now I want a banana.

Posted by Ted at 05:05 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

October 19, 2005

By Request

At the recent blogmeet, the Maximum Leader told me more than once, "More Wernher Von Braun!" He also hinted at some Von Braun stories that I'm going to beat out of him if plying with beer doesn't work insist he tell next time.

But you know me, I'm always happy to oblige...

bubwerner3.jpg

In my own way, of course.

Posted by Ted at 08:00 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Too bad the name eHarmony is already taken

Australia launches world's largest sheep database.

Posted by Ted at 05:55 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

October 17, 2005

Via Email

Worth passing along:

Ever wonder what the difference between prison and work is?

Just in case you ever get the two mixed up, this should make things a bit clearer.

IN PRISON...you spend the majority of your time in an 8X10 cell.
AT WORK...you spend the majority of your time in a 6X8 cubicle.

IN PRISON...you get three meals a day.
AT WORK...you only get a break for one meal and you pay for it.

IN PRISON...you get time off for good behavior.
AT WORK...you get more work for good behavior.

IN PRISON...the guard locks and unlocks all the doors for you.
AT WORK...you must carry around a security card and open all the doors for yourself.

IN PRISON...you can watch TV and play games.
AT WORK...you get fired for watching TV and playing games.

IN PRISON...you get your own toilet.
AT WORK...you have to share with some idiot who pees on the seat.

IN PRISON...they allow your family and friends to visit.
AT WORK...you can't even speak to your family.

IN PRISON...the taxpayers pay all expenses with no work required.
AT WORK...you get to pay all the expenses to go to work and then they deduct taxes from your salary to pay for prisoners.

IN PRISON...you spend most of your life inside bars wanting to get out.
AT WORK...you spend most of your time wanting to get out and go inside bars.

IN PRISON...you must deal with sadistic wardens.
AT WORK...they are called managers.

Have a Great Day at WORK!!

I don't know whether to laugh or cry.

Posted by Ted at 06:03 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Almost forgot

I was feeling so lousy on Friday that I didn't mention that my review copy of MaddenNFL 2006 arrived.

Neener neener.

Posted by Ted at 04:17 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

October 16, 2005

I like it, I love it, I want some more of it

Just saw the first-ever shootout in Washington Capitals history, and they beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-2.

Posted by Ted at 08:44 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

The center wasn't the only guy bent over today (updated)

Fantasy football, and two, repeat TWO of my starting wide receivers didn't play today. Both were game-time decisions, so thanks guys, for giving me a little warning. I'm glad the Steelers lost (Hines Ward), and I wish the Bengals had too (T.J. Houshmandzadeh).

Serves (half of) you right, dammit.

Update: Somehow I'm hanging in there. Now I need Edgerrin James to have a great Monday Night and the rest of the Colts to fall off the face of the planet, and I might just pull this one out.

Posted by Ted at 05:20 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Millions More Miscount

There was a time when the National Park Service would provide an estimate of the crowd size for events held on the mall in Washington DC. After being criticized for not sufficiently inflating the estimates to soothe the egos of various organizers, the parks people did an intelligent and reasonable thing. They declined to provide crowd estimates any more.

That made everyone happy. The National Park Service no longer had to deploy people to "count" the crowds, and they deftly sidestepped various complaints ranging from bad mathematical skills to racism.

The organizers of various events were happy too, because now their "official" numbers were, in fact, official.

Yesterday was a classic example. After hearing reports throughout the day about "thousands massing at the mall" or "a throng numbering in the thousands", the Nation of Islam released their official crowd count at 1.8 million people.

I'm happy, because now I know for sure that every estimate I hear from these events is complete and utter bullshit.

Posted by Ted at 10:53 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

October 15, 2005

Inadvertant Humor

Earlier this week we had the headline:

Avian Flu Found in Turkey

Today we see:

Thousands Attend Millions More March

But of course, this is deliberate:

Rice Fails To Gain Russian Support Over Iran

When the more accurate statement would be:

Russians refuse to change mind despite Rice efforts. But hey, she failed, you know?

Posted by Ted at 10:54 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Things Mookie has learned in college

1. There are about 1/2 ton of termites living for each human being on the planet.

2. Termites fart.

3. Farting releases methane.

4. Methane is a greenhouse gas.

5. Therefore, killing termites can stop global warming.

(Chemistry in Context: Applying Chemistry to Society, 4th edition, page 125)

Hand me that aerosol can of bug spray, would you?

Posted by Ted at 08:54 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Random *and* Pointless, because I'm dedicated to giving you more

You do realize that there's a salty side and a not-salty side to a Pringles, don't you?

Posted by Ted at 08:04 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

October 14, 2005

Recommendation

If you wanted to have the KFC chicken dinner last night, don't.

Uh oh. Gotta run.

Posted by Ted at 04:32 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

October 13, 2005

Office Refrigerators

At my old worksite, there was the nog. At the current one, the fridge is full of whipped cream and beer.

Psychology paper? Coffee table book? Either way, there's an opportunity here.

Posted by Ted at 11:44 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Damn, now I want a Double

girlsatwendys.jpg

Click for biggie size

Posted by Ted at 04:13 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 12, 2005

Have you seen the softer side of Sears?

*checking trash can*

Yep.

Posted by Ted at 05:13 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Sickos on the Internet

I heard on a radio news report this morning (and if it's on the radio then it must be true, right?), that according to an AOL (*snicker*) user survey, half of all bloggers list "therapy" as the reason they blog.

Or in my case, evidence of the need for.

Posted by Ted at 05:59 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

October 11, 2005

Rollery Coastery

I am still employed. To my mind, it was touch and go there for a bit.

See, last week I made an incredibly silly mistake which happened at precisely the wrong moment, resulting in spectacularly bad results all out of proportion to the size of the original mistake.

It took the entire team most of a day to put us back on track, and the fact that it's the beginning of a new fiscal year only added to the festivities. There was no finger pointing or gnashing of teeth, just professionals digging in and making things right.

Our boss was on vacation last week. I stressed big-time all weekend about this morning, and whether I would still have a job. I got the expected (and deserved) ass chewing, and then we moved on.

But the back of my neck is still cringy, and I've become rather maniacal about double-checking and triple-checking things. A little late, but better than never.

Posted by Ted at 07:24 PM | Comments (12) | TrackBack

October 09, 2005

Answer

Yesterday, Dawn surprised me by saying that this print was me.

Boy-On-Mt-Fuji-Hokusai.jpeg

I was so surprised that when she asked me what I saw in it, I babbled some incoherent nonsense. She was right though, because the image resonated and stayed with me. So here's an attempt to answer your question.

I see serenity and solitude. The empty basket tells me that the day is ending, the toil of the day is over, and there is time for reflection. The mountain in the distance is unchanging, and even when the moods of the volcano change, underneath is permanence.

It occurs to me that the rippling path underneath the tree may be water, but my first impression was that it was a road, perhaps signifying one's life, with the ups and downs that happen to everyone. I also think it significant that the difficulty of navigating the road is trivial compared to the mass of the mountain beyond, or even to the lesser permanence of the tree itself, which live far longer than any single person.

I suck at this introspection stuff.

Posted by Ted at 08:02 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

October 06, 2005

Over the top

Used to be, there were a lucky few who got to write blurbs for trashy paperbacks:

No man could satisfy her. Four men tried to tame this wildcat who knew no end to the daisy-chain game of sin savagery... until she met a woman as explosive as herself. Together they stormed into an arena of perverted pleasures that knew no parallel except in hell. -- I Want You, by Lester Lake

Nowadays, I think they hang out in AOL chat.

Posted by Ted at 04:14 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 05, 2005

Question

Look at this picture (reasonably safe for work). The ladies pictured are topless, but the body paint is good enough to hide that fact except under close and careful examination.

Disregarding everything except the spirit of fun and adventure, could you do that?

Posted by Ted at 05:44 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Quote

He's a good interview:

"Just put down 'bleep.' It's OK. Lots of things I say in the paper have bleeps in them." -- Chicago White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen

He's a good interview, with a little judicious editing.

Posted by Ted at 04:48 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

October 04, 2005

Supremely Amused

I've been enjoying the hyperventilation going on among some conservatives over President Bush's nominee for the high court. Mostly because I remember the chorus of "he's the President so he should get to choose anyone he wants to join the Supreme Court."

Guess what? He did.

That ol' "be careful what you wish for" bites y'all in ass again.

Posted by Ted at 05:01 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

October 03, 2005

That line keeps repeating in my head

So New Orleans Mayor Nagin has appointed a committee to oversee reconstruction. This is a different committee than the one appointed by the city council to oversee reconstruction. And then, not to be outdone, Governor Blanco has appointer her very own committee to oversee reconstruction.

More hands muddying the money trail, more people to blame when questions arise. These folks are old pros at the grand con game called corrupt government.

I'm reminded of the movie Operation Petticoat. Cary Grant was the skipper of a submarine, and Tony Curtis was his "supply" officer who specialized in creative larceny to get things done. During an air raid, the supply troops headed out, saying "In confusion, there is profit."

True words.

Posted by Ted at 08:45 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Flower blogging

I was telling a coworker about a couple of plants I've got going on this year in our front yard and told her I'd take pictures.

(in the extended entry)

nine-ng-impatiens.jpg

This is nine New Guniea Impatiens that I planted in a bed about 15 feet long. You can't go wrong with impatiens, as long you keep them watered. They'll droop and wilt badly when they get thirsty, but a good soaking will perk them right back up, and they'll stay covered with blooms like this right until first frost.

mandevilla-tropical.jpg

This is a flowering vine called Mandevilla that I potted and trained to climb through the lattice. Our HOA was on our case about the trash can being visible, so this is how I solved that problem (you can barely see the can behind). The blooms are four or five inches across, and it's flowered all summer. The mandavilla is tropical, so in all likelyhood it won't survive the winter here, but I'm going to trim it back before first frost and set it down into the window well where the dryer vent exhausts. Maybe it'll be enough, we'll find out.

Posted by Ted at 05:06 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

September 26, 2005

Prom or Halloween, the versatility is breathtaking

In the extended entry (warning - indelicate language)

Are you crazy?  Those aren't *my* kids!

Posted by Ted at 06:42 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

Does this make me a bad Republican?

I only eat ketchup on two things: tater tots and grilled cheese sandwiches.

Posted by Ted at 05:30 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

September 24, 2005

Why cable was invented

Now where did I leave the remote?

Posted by Ted at 10:23 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 23, 2005

Hey, look who's in town! KILL HIM!!!!

I was watching the Weather Channel coverage of Hurricane Rita, and they've got a reporter located in Sulphur, Louisiana. He was saying that the eye would pass right over or just to the west of them, and another reporter mentioned that the guy was "four for four" this season.

Four hurricanes, four assignments, four times he's been right near where the eye comes ashore.

If Jeff Morrow ever visits your town, get the hell out.

Posted by Ted at 10:02 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

I'm not an economist

And thank goodness I'm not! Otherwise, folks would be bugging me to explain the goofy gas prices around here.

This morning, my wife called me on her way to work to let me know that a certain gas station in our area was priced at $2.54 a gallon. Across the street is another station that we occasionally use, priced at $2.59. Anticipating a rise in prices, I gassed up the truck at the cheaper place.

This afternoon my wife noticed that the first place had raised prices by a penny, to $2.55 a gallon. Meanwhile, all the way across the street, the other place jumped prices by twenty cents.

I haven't a clue. Maybe their distributor is sticking it to them and they're just passing along the price increase. I can believe that because their prices are insanely volatile compared to most brands in the area, and they're not always more expensive than everywhere else. But if they're trying to take advantage, they're the dumbest businessmen on the planet, because people remember stuff like that, and I'll bet that even when prices stabilize again their business will be down.

We tend to have cheap gas in this area compared to most. What's a gallon going for in your burg?

Posted by Ted at 08:03 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

Teefs

Had a minor dental emergency a couple of days ago that required a trip to see the dentist. I'm pleased to announce (as if anyone cares) that *my* dentist is back from maternity leave and I'm very very happy about that.

So anyways, things went good yesterday and I have a quick followup scheduled for this morning, after which I'll go in to work late and probably stay busy there until this evening (end of the fiscal year coming up fast, don't'cha know). I'll see y'all tomorrow, most likely.

If you see a guy with only half his face working, and a big string of bloody drool hanging off his chin, say hi. It ain't me, but he's probably having a bad day and could use a kind word.

Posted by Ted at 07:47 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

September 20, 2005

New Banner

What'cha think?

Posted by Ted at 06:37 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

Work Conversation*

Supervisor: What happened at the meeting?

Me: Bullshit.

Supervisor: No, really, I need more than that. Didn't you take notes?

Me (handing over a page and a half of meeting notes): Read for yourself.

Supervisor (reading carefully): What bullshit.

Me: Echo Echo.

*I made this up. Think of it as a composite of the last 100 meetings I've been to.

Posted by Ted at 06:18 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

September 19, 2005

Happy Talk Like A Pirate Day!

In today's society we hear often about inclusion, so with that in mind, I'd like everyone to join me in song:

Kum-bah-yArrrr, me mateys! Kum-bah-yArrrrr!
Kum-bah-yArrrr, me mateys! Kum-bah-yArrrrr!
Kum-bah-yArrrr, me mateys! Kum-bah-yArrrrr!
Shiver me timbers, Kum-bah-yArrrrr!

Keel-haul the sinners, mates! Kum-bah-yArrrr!
Keel-haul the sinners, mates! Kum-bah-yArrrr!
Keel-haul the sinners, mates! Kum-bah-yArrrr!
Shiver me timbers, Kum-bah-yArrrrr!

There the beastie be! Kum-bah-yArrrr!
There the beastie be! Kum-bah-yArrrr!
There the beastie be! Kum-bah-yArrrr!
Shiver me timbers, Kum-bah-yArrrrr!

I'm sure a fine crew such as yourselves can add a verse to the tune, no?

Posted by Ted at 04:23 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

September 17, 2005

Fractions of a million served!

Hey, sometime last night Rocket Jones got its 250,000th visitor!!!

Kind of amazing, considering posts like the one above, eh?

Posted by Ted at 10:03 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 16, 2005

Don't even bother denying it

Ignore the brilliant comedy for the moment and admit it, this brash and brassy redhead had some genuinely fine gams.

lballgrapes14r.jpg
(click for super vitameatavegemin size)

Posted by Ted at 06:08 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

September 15, 2005

Reminder

September 19th is Talk Like A Pirate Day! Arrrr, ye scurvy dogs.

I be thinking of ordering one of these for meself.
It's unfortunate that rum makes me itch
Yo ho! Yo ho! A pirates life for me...

Posted by Ted at 07:15 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

September 14, 2005

Dear Mr. SUV,

I'm sorry that it now costs you $180.00 every time you need to fill your gas tank, but that's the consequence of your decision to buy that oversized off-road vehicle for your daily commute on the interstate.

Just like your attempt to improve your gas milage by accellerating from zero to sixty in 6.3 weeks has a consequence - the rest of us think you're an asshole.

And get the hell out of the fast lane if you won't do at least the speed limit. Owning that monster makes you special all right, but 'special' has taken on a whole new meaning.

Posted by Ted at 06:06 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Quotable

From the Ottawa Citizen (via Cream of the Crock):

That is not to say government has not failed. (Celebrities also underperformed, and Sean Penn should probably resign.)

Lots of good stuff to read at the Crock.

Posted by Ted at 05:20 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 12, 2005

They should probably move on to "Plan B"

According to Vincent Creel, spokesman for Biloxi, Mississippi Mayor A.J. Holloway:

"A whole new market, people who had been looking at Florida to retire, were going to come here to escape the hurricanes."

Katrina is a short-term setback. They'll be fine in the long run.

Posted by Ted at 11:31 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

So I see this guy...

...and he's tall and skinny as a rail, and he has this enormous Yosemite Sam moustache. It looked like someone had duct taped a pekinese to one end of a popsicle stick.

Posted by Ted at 05:45 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Quotable

TV analyst Randy Cross said this about Denver quarterback Jake Plummer:

"Plummer is the Billy Graham of the NFL. He can make 70,000 people say 'Jesus' in unison."

LMAO

Posted by Ted at 04:20 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

September 11, 2005

Timing is everything when it comes to gas prices

I filled up yesterday after work and paid $2.99 a gallon.

This morning as I passed the gas stations on the way to the rocket launch, the prices were all $2.89 a gallon. Dang.

Posted by Ted at 06:52 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

September 10, 2005

I don't normally hold a grudge, but...

I just thought of the perfect line to use next time Sears calls me:

The only reason I'd ever set foot in a Sears again is if my house is underwater and I need someplace to loot.

I'd probably preface that with a "Ma'am", 'cause I'm a gentleman like that.

Posted by Ted at 05:14 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Mookie News

Rachael got her work/study assignment. She's working for the Drama Department, mostly at the campus theater.

That's like asking a mermaid to be a lifeguard.

Posted by Ted at 08:31 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 09, 2005

Loved

Thanks to everyone who left birthday wishes in the comments and email yesterday. Y'all are the best!

On Wednesday, I got a very unexpected birthday present from some co-workers who broke all records in accomplishing a regularly scheduled task. Once they finish, then I have several hours worth of work that I have to do with their results. Usually I have to do that on Thursday, but because they were so quick this time I was able to get it all done Wednesday afternoon and take my birthday off. They'll get a big thanks from me, and they didn't even know.

Rachael got me The Mummy: The Legacy Collection. Tres cool. Thanks sweetie!!!! You may remember that last year for my birthday she got me the rereleased Bakshi animation Wizards, and for Father's Day she bought me a hybrid rocket motor system, so I recommend that y'all get on her gift-giving list, because she's good at it.

I've been on a movie kick lately, so Liz took me out for a Mexican dinner (my favorite) and then turned me loose in Suncoast Video. I picked up Clash of the Titans, Blonde in Bondage (1950's Swedish exploitation flick), and a collection of four low-budget horror movies that had two things to recommend them; I haven't seen any of them, and they all contain nudity (look for upcoming reviews). Altogether I've probably bought two dozen B-movies in the last couple of weeks, so I'll have plenty to watch on those cold winter nights.

Thanks again folks, you made the day special.

Posted by Ted at 05:47 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

September 08, 2005

Defying Classification

Rachael has joined several clubs at her college. Among them are the Pagan Club and the Young Republicans. That oughtta cause a few raised eyebrows.

Posted by Ted at 01:47 PM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

Gay Marraige, Coast to Coast

Governator to veto Gay Marraige Bill in California. His reasoning is that five years ago Proposition 22 was on the ballot, prohibiting the recognition of same-sex marraige in California, and was passed by a wide margin.

In other words, the majority of Californian's don't want it, and he, unlike the Legislature, remembers that he works for the people.

In related news, the Massachusetts state legislature ingnored repeated requests to put the matter of gay marriage up for a vote, and eventually the State Supreme Court ruled that gay marriage couldn't be denied. This made gay marriage supporters very happy. This made anti-gay marriage folks very unhappy.

So now the anti- foks are mobilizing and the state legislature is looking into putting it up for a vote. Guess what? The anti- folks far outnumber the pro-, so if it goes to the polls, it's likely that the law will change, making the court decision moot.

Democracy can be a bitch. But there are ways to make your dream happen.

This isn't one of them. Publishing a list of everyone who signs the petition against gay marriage? Cheap, stupid, and it will, in the end, have exactly the opposite effect that they hope for.

I've said this for a long time (Dawn probably remembers some debates I had in her comments way back), the only way for gays to win approval for marriage is by convincing voters that it's a good and decent thing to do. Using the courts to win the right accomplishes nothing permanent, and doing an end-around the voters by legislation isn't the answer either.

Convince enough average voters that Gay Marriage isn't doomsday and you'll get it. But all of the tantrums and name-calling and attempted intimidation isn't going to change a single mind, and you'll just be impressing some people who are already on your side. You'll also be turning off some people who are on your side.

People like me.

Posted by Ted at 12:04 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Crass Observation

The Democrats have been trying to overcome the perception that they are soft on national security and would be able to handle a major crisis. By her actions, Louisiana Governor Blanco has managed, in a little more than a week, to firmly cement that perception into reality in the minds of many.

Posted by Ted at 10:06 AM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

September 07, 2005

Belated and Otherwise

September Blogger Birthdays

LeeAnn - yesterday (I'm sorry, I didn't look this stuff up until this morning)

Boudicca - 8th (all the *really* cool kids have birthdays on the 8th)

Me - 8th (thanks to Cindy for thinking of me!)

Blue - 9th (podcaster extraordinaire, he's got a blog now but I lost the link)

Jennifer - 14th (she's a student, buy her Ramen)

Pixy Misa - 19th 20th (must be that upside down calendar they use in Australia)

Victor - 27th 28th (that's what I get for trying to do two year old calendar math in my head)

Happy Happy, Everyone!

Posted by Ted at 06:06 AM | Comments (13) | TrackBack

September 06, 2005

Ok, what's next?

I went to the Potomac Nationals website this morning to check their schedule, thinking we'd get one last blogger get-together in before the season ends. Alas, the season ended with three games at home over the holiday weekend.

So now I'm open to suggestions. I welcome any ideas on when and if y'all would like to meet up again. I sent out invites for a poker night and got very little response. How about a picnic in October? Hockey game?

One interesting possibility is the fall BattlePark rocket launch in Culpeper, Virginia. It's scheduled for the first weekend of November (5th and 6th), and if anyone is interested Doug Pratt introduced me to an amazing rib joint in that area for food afterwards.

Posted by Ted at 11:33 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

What a beautiful weekend

Got lots done, including some work on the movie review, but you'll have to be patient for another day or so.

Posted by Ted at 06:02 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 05, 2005

Oh Buffy. Oh Brad.

Put away the white. The fashion lizard has spoken.

Have a wonderful holiday.

Posted by Ted at 09:27 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 04, 2005

Oh yeah, that'll make me take it seriously

I was reading an astrological profile for people born under the sign of Virgo and it was interesting enough, right up until the very last sentence.

Famous Virgos
Stephen King, Charlie Sheen, Mother Teresa, Sophia Loren, and Mickey Mouse

Mickey Mouse?

Posted by Ted at 07:39 AM | Comments (11) | TrackBack

September 02, 2005

Bit of a rut

Liz hit a sale on DVD's and picked up a few that we had on VHS. This evening while walking through another store I found a great deal on Ghostbusters I & II in a set. When we got home, Liz realized that she'd picked up Gung Ho, Guarding Tess and Grease.

Today was brought to you by the letter "G".

Good Grief.

Posted by Ted at 08:23 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

It's the only explanation, really

A woman has sued King county in Washington state.

In a lawsuit filed 10 days ago in Pierce County Superior Court, Robinette Amaker of North Carolina claimed that the brain of her deceased brother, Bradley Gierlich, was taken from his body in 1998 at the King County Medical Examiner's office.

The only reason I can see this becoming an issue now after seven years is that maybe he's up for reelection.

Posted by Ted at 04:00 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

September 01, 2005

Before and After

Gulfport, Mississippi (in the extended entry).

Please visit the California Yankee, Michele, Phin, or many other sites online for ways you can help.

Thanks.

BeforeAfter
GulfportbeforeHURRICANE_KATRINA.jpg GulfportafterHURRICANE_KATRINA.jpg
Posted by Ted at 11:41 AM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

Opportunity, of a sort

I believe that you'll be able to get a very good deal on a used SUV over the next few months.

It reminds me of one springtime a few years ago. The winter had been terrible (1999?), and everyone ran out and bought 4-wheel drive vehicles. The car lots were full of used sports cars, and the dealers couldn't even give 'em away.

Posted by Ted at 06:02 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

August 31, 2005

Time Flies When You're Having Fun

It just occurred to me that we are two-thirds of the way through 2005. I don't know about you, but I'd be perfectly happy if the rest of this year were boring and uneventful.

Posted by Ted at 02:54 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Relief

My niece called. Her and the kids are safe alive. They're still in the vicinity of what's left of Gulfport, Mississippi.

Posted by Ted at 12:52 PM | Comments (12) | TrackBack

August 30, 2005

"It's complete devastation" (updated)

The entire quote:

"Let me tell you something, folks. I've been out there. It's complete devastation," Gulfport Fire Chief Pat Sullivan said Monday. He estimated that 75 percent of buildings in Gulfport have major roof damage, "if they have a roof left at all."

Gulfport experienced a storm surge of more than 20 feet. Think about that for a second. Stand up, and if you're six feet tall, the water level pushed inland was more than three times your height.

We've had no word about my neice in Gulfport, who refused to evacuate despite living within blocks of the beach. At this point, I could care less about her, but I'm worried sick about her small children.

"The hurricane was scary," Scott Radish told The Times-Picayune. "All the tree branches fell, but the building stood. I thought I was doing good. Then I noticed my Jeep was under water."
"I've never encountered anything like it in my life. It just kept rising and rising and rising," said Bryan Vernon, who spent three hours on his roof, screaming over howling winds for someone to save him and his fiancee.

Idiots like these shouldn't be spared natural selection. Call me hardhearted, but I'd leave 'em right where they are, especially if rescuing their stupid asses meant someone else has to risk their lives.

Across a street that had turned into a river bobbing with garbage cans, trash and old tires, a woman leaned from the second-story window of a brick home and pleaded to be rescued.

"There are three kids in here," the woman said. "Can you help us?"

You had the chance to save your children, and blew it. I hope they learn from this experience, and I hope they never forget that you're a selfish nitwit who endangered their lives for no good reason.

Worried sick and pissed off, that's me.

Update: Just got word that their house is gone. Completely. No news about my niece and the kids.

Posted by Ted at 07:51 AM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

It's only gay if you swallow

I think Tim Allen would agree. Me? I'm not so sure.

Posted by Ted at 04:45 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

August 29, 2005

Time to pray (updated)

Or whatever you do to send good juju down to the folks in New Orleans and vicinity. I've got relatives close to the water in Gulfport who're determined to ride this one out. Stupid? I guess we'll know in a few days, eh?

(update) Wizbang! has the text of the official National Weather Service Warning. Here's a little bit:

POWER OUTAGES WILL LAST FOR WEEKS...AS MOST POWER POLES WILL BE DOWN AND TRANSFORMERS DESTROYED. WATER SHORTAGES WILL MAKE HUMAN SUFFERING INCREDIBLE BY MODERN STANDARDS.

THE VAST MAJORITY OF NATIVE TREES WILL BE SNAPPED OR UPROOTED. ONLY THE HEARTIEST WILL REMAIN STANDING...BUT BE TOTALLY DEFOLIATED. FEW CROPS WILL REMAIN. LIVESTOCK LEFT EXPOSED TO THE WINDS WILL BE KILLED.

The guys at Wizbang! also have a look at what the folks sheltering at the Superdome might go through. Pray for them too, they're going to need it.

Posted by Ted at 06:04 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 28, 2005

You know it's going to be a good day when

You leap out of bed, scoop up the dog, race downstairs, throw open the front door, toss the dog outside, and watch him barf up all over the porch. Which you then proceed to clean by hosing it off.

All before properly waking up.

Posted by Ted at 10:24 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Everybody repeat after me...

We are all individuals.

Posted by Ted at 10:17 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Feedback?

Seen over at Naked Villainy.

Jimmy Stewart
You scored 19% Tough, 19% Roguish, 33% Friendly, and 28% Charming!

You are the fun and friendly boy next door, the classic nice guy who
still manages to get the girl most of the time. You're every nice
girl's dreamboat, open and kind, nutty and charming, even a little
mischievous at times, but always a real stand up guy. You're dependable
and forthright, and women are drawn to your reliability, even as
they're dazzled by your sense of adventure and fun. You try to be tough
when you need to be, and will gladly stand up for any damsel in
distress, but you'd rather catch a girl with a little bit of flair.
Your leading ladies include Jean Arthur and Donna Reed, those sweet
girl-next-door types.


Find out what kind of classic dame you'd make by taking the
Classic Dames Test.




My test tracked 4 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 19% on Tough
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 57% on Roguish
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 61% on Friendly
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 57% on Charming
Link: The Classic Leading Man Test written by gidgetgoes on Ok Cupid

I'm not displeased.

Posted by Ted at 08:46 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

August 26, 2005

Almost forgot

Remember a while back I mentioned that I'd been offered a review copy of an independent horror flick?

It showed up in my mailbox yesterday.

Woot!

Posted by Ted at 06:02 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

There's probably a smiting in her future

According to Mookie, the Bible is the most popular fanfic in history.

Posted by Ted at 05:45 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

August 25, 2005

The Rooms Echo Strangely

Just got home from work. The girls are off to their respective schools, and Liz isn't back yet from helping Rachael to settle in. It's just me and the dogs and a house that seems a little more empty than usual... until I get to the basement and see the ever-present pile of laundry that needs doing.

At least it'll be a smaller ever-present pile.

Silver linings, people, silver linings.

Posted by Ted at 04:56 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Zing! II

Yesterday, I listened to a co-worker gripe about having to go to yet another meeting.

Me: I know how to get out of meetings.

Co-worker: How?

Me: Ask questions they don't want to answer. Bring up points they don't want to consider.

Co-worker: What's the point of that?

Me: Be obnoxious. They'll quit inviting you.

Co-worker: Can you teach me?

Oh yeah, he got me good.

Posted by Ted at 06:12 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

This is what's wrong with these people

Poor ladies.

Belgian women's soccer team SK Berlaar had to stomach a 50-1 defeat against rival KV Mechelen on Saturday because their goalkeeper had opted to attend a music concert instead, a local newspaper said.

Oh man, that's gotta be tough, playing without a goalkeeper.

"Our keeper went to Pukkel Pop. That's why," substitute goalkeeper Charlotte Jacobs told Het Laatste Nieuws daily on Monday.

They had a sub? And the other team still scored 50 goals? I'd fine the starting goalie for not taking the substitute with her to the concert.

"At half-time the score was 27-0. But after half-time we were able to recover."

By "recover", she means she only allowed 23 more goals. Sounds like a political analyst working for the Democrats (yeah, I know, cheap shot).

"...we scored once ourselves, right at the end. They allowed us to score. That was sweet of them," Jacobs added.
That's the difference between Belgium and the US. They have no fire or passion. You're winning 50 zip and you let the other team score a pity goal?!?!?! WTF? And they're grateful?!?!?!? I'd be out there in a raging fury, risking a stroke over this game. Either side, doesn't matter. Whether storming over getting stomped like that, or royally pissed off by my teammates letting them score. Sweet?

That's just wrong.

Posted by Ted at 04:50 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

August 23, 2005

We interupt this unscheduled outage in order to bring you blogging

What the hell happened?

Posted by Ted at 05:30 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

August 22, 2005

Events Conspired

We never did get to the rocket launch on Saturday. I'd started feeling ill Friday morning, and had to leave early to take Rachael to the doctor for her pre-admission checkup. She hadn't been feeling all that great, and on the way home she urped. So between both of us feeling less than wonderful, her working both days, all the packing to get done (oldest daughter Robyn and her boyfriend each took a carload down to ODU), plus the hot, oppressive, humid weather, well, we took a pass on standing out in the sun all day (fun as that may be).

Liz takes Rachael to her campus on Thursday. Robyn continues to move her stuff all week. Busy little bees, we are.

Posted by Ted at 05:54 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

August 19, 2005

Our lousy economy

With all but a handful of companies already reporting for the quarter, it turns out that three quarters of them met or exceeded their projected earnings.

Posted by Ted at 06:08 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

August 18, 2005

Message to the world: it's the quiet ones who have the longest memories

We hear a lot of noise from those who want us to ignore the fact that we were attacked (thanks to the Flea for the pointer).

Ten tons of steel from the World Trade Center’s twin towers will be used in the construction of the USS New York, according to a Navy official.

The San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock is slated to be commissioned in 2008.

Forget? Hell no.

Posted by Ted at 11:55 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Marketing Genius

Taco Bell is as good at marketing as Burger King is bad. Very few clunker ads. They don't drive a commercial run into the ground either. The little mutt "Yo Quiero, Taco Bell" could've become obnoxious, but they know to quit a little early - leave 'em wanting more.

What got me to thinking about this is a pile of hot sauce packets in our kitchen. Each one has a prominent little spot on the front with a cute message. For instance:

"It's ok to say it. I love you too."

"Hey, where are you taking me?"

Subtle, simple, effective.

Posted by Ted at 05:21 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

August 16, 2005

Christmas in August

Like I promised I'm going to promise (trust me, it'll make sense eventually).

(in the extended entry - safe for work but may offend delicate sensibilities)

xmas in august.JPG

Posted by Ted at 08:49 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

August 15, 2005

Maroon 5

If I understand the story correctly, they bummed around for years under various band names, finally cut an album and waited a couple more years before becoming an overnight sensation.

Now, they're so overplayed that I'm sick of them and wouldn't mind if they faded back into obscurity for a few more years.

Posted by Ted at 07:19 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

GMail Invites

Ask and ye shall receive!

In the comments, or drop me a line at RocketJones -at- gmail -dot- youknow.

Posted by Ted at 11:19 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

August 13, 2005

Hah! And people call me clueless...

I've been listening to quite a few podcasts lately, and it seems that the hardware of choice is the PowerBook. I did some comparison shopping, and dang, those things are expensive!

So you can imagine my surprise when I saw this ad on television last night, offering me a Book of Power for only $89.95! Plus it's personally autographed by the Right Reverend Joe Jim Skeevy. It's smaller than that clunky thing y'all are using too.

I know, y'all are rolling your eyes at me right now, but listen, this guys' a preacher, and he made this little crippled kid stand up and everything. I trust him.

I plunked down an extra twenty for super-rush-immediate delivery. So y'all can expect the first Rocket Jones podcast real soon now, as soon as my new Book of Power shows up.

Boy howdy, I'm excited.

Posted by Ted at 08:14 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

August 12, 2005

I was already in a good mood

...and then Sears called, asking if I wanted to extend my warranty on, of all things, my freezer.

I know she was just a drone, but it still felt good to rip into yet another Sears employee after the way they screwed us over.

I didn't even swear. Honest.

Posted by Ted at 04:37 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Thanks, I needed that

Got home from work yesterday afternoon, chatted with Liz and Rachael for a short bit, said no to dinner, then went to sleep until this morning. I remember getting up twice for a glass of juice and once to let the dogs out.

Once in a while you gotta catch up.

Posted by Ted at 06:12 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 11, 2005

How come?

The word "crusade" is generally accepted in the West as a term meaning a great struggle for a cause. To us, it's a strong word to denote a noble and just effort. Yet we're not allowed to use it because it offends Muslims who only see it as a historical reference.

The word "jihad" is generally accepted in the West as a term meaning a great struggle for a cause. The cause may be good, but good is defined by the individual, and we hear most often about the jihad against us infidels, and how they want us all dead or enslaved. So, basically, jihad means war against the West.

Explain to me why we can't use our word, yet they can use theirs?

Posted by Ted at 11:45 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Conversation Snippet

Robyn (about her boyfriend): I have to take him to work on Monday because his car failed inspection.

Me: Bummer.

Robyn: He's hoping to get his motorcycle fixed this weekend, but he needs a truck to get it to his Dad's house so they can work on it.

Me (remembering): Doesn't he own a truck?

Robyn: Yeah, but it's parked at his house. Needs a transmission.

Me: You might be a redneck if...

Robyn: Be nice.

Posted by Ted at 11:22 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

If God were anti-gun, why'd he make so many stupid drivers?

Not to mention letting Moses head up the NRA. Yet another "nun gun fun" post.

(in the extended entry - safe for work)

You know Dennis Miller would've made some obscure quip about the Reformation here. I'm too damn lazy to look it up, and you probably are too, so I'll go for the cheap and easy joke.

piss us off and we'll get out the rulers... *then* you'll be sorry!

There's something about a woman in uniform, eh?

Posted by Ted at 04:56 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 10, 2005

A little personal Feng Shui

Guys, if you're packing to the left, try switching to the right, or vice-versa. Of course, if you're scoring plenty then you should ignore this.

Posted by Ted at 04:22 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

You'll look back and say "Rocket Jones tried to warn us"

We have one of those tower fans in our living room. You know the kind, with three or four little fans stacked vertically. It does a nice job, oscillates, different speeds, all that happy crap a fan does.

But they slipped up on the design. They forgot to hide its intelligence.

This thing has LED displays on the front face, at the top, where it's convenient to read. But when you set it to oscillate on low speed (arguably the most common setting), these two lights look like shining red eyes, tirelessly scanning back and forth across the room. Noting the positions of all life forms in the vicinity.

This fan has a remote control! And guess where it sits? That's right, it's brain sits under a clear plastic canopy on top of the beast. Where it can control things.

Granted, this thing is seriously limited in the amount of malevolence it can project. I mean, it's on a pedestal base. But don't let that fool you, because they've already figured out how to use remote mobile robots to recconoiter your home. Roomba? Small, cheap, dispensible. Sounds like a scout to me.

What we're seeing here is the very beginnings of the takeover. Hollywood gave us the Terminator, then T2 and T3. This fan is probably something like T1/64th. But don't let it's relative weakness lull you into a false sense of security. It wants that. And it's eyes never stop scanning.

For another few weeks, until it gets unplugged and put it up in the attic.

It's nice to air out your darkest paranoias once in a while. But if you forget to put it away again, you wind up on talk radio.

Posted by Ted at 06:05 AM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria?

(in the extended entry - safe for work)

(click for holy mackeral size)

praise the lord and pass the ammunition

What, you'd rather I bring back the zombies?

Posted by Ted at 04:38 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

August 09, 2005

How do you escalate when you've already used chemical weapons?

Last week some wasps decided that the crevice between my front storm door hinge and door jamb would be a dandy place to construct a nest. I grabbed the can of wasp killer (Mookie was impressed that you could aim it accurately out to twenty plus feet) and we hosed the area down pretty good, killing what were probably the insect version of the doozers.

This afternoon at work I got a phone call from the girls, letting me know that the wasps were back in force. I told them where the can of spray was and how to work it. We're not alergic to stings, so bees and such get no drama or hysterics, if they become a pest they are simply dealt with. Humans two, wasps zip.

When I got home, the front stoop was littered with dead wasp carcasses. The girls weren't kidding when they said "back in force".

A little while ago I stepped on a wasp that managed to get into the house before dying, the living room carpet being pretty good camoflage. I was barefoot and the stinger got me on the instep. I swear I heard, in a tiny little buzzing whisper, "From the depths of hell, I spit at thee."

Posted by Ted at 08:27 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Old Dog, New Trick

Our Skye Terrier Sam has a new scam going on. If someone's in the kitchen cooking, he'll hang out near the food and water bowls, just kind of loitering. When you go to open or close the fridge, he manages to get in the way of the door, getting whacked in the process. Then he looks up with this expectant look in his eyes and a wide smile*, trying to con you into giving him a goodie since he just got "hurt".

Freakin' ambulance-chasing begger.

*When I say Sam smiles, I mean a full human-type smile showing teeth and all. It's not a snarl or baring his teeth, because I've seen those and this isn't at all menacing. He just looks like a friendly damn dog with a big toothy grin.

Posted by Ted at 07:49 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Natch!

To the person who reached Rocket Jones by googling "honkies favorite TV shows":

1. Cops. I keep hoping I'll see one of my relatives.
2. Jerry Springer. Same reason.

Hope that satisfied your curiosity.

Posted by Ted at 11:17 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Busy Little Beavers

No, this isn't a movie review of Midget Gangbangs #4.

Gak, would they even make such a movie? Sure they would, but that doesn't mean I'd want to watch it. Even I have standards, low as they may be.

*consulting notes*

... trigger NetNanny... done...
... quickie...

Mind out of the gutter, intrepid surfer (those faint of heart have long since clicked the back button), this supposed-to-be short post is just to let you know that reality has been hectic lately, so posting will be light for a while longer.

Of course, in blog-speak, that means there's a 75% chance of an increase in volume from the norm from me.

Coming in the near future: more about my mixed feelings about Empty Nesting, the financial education you get before setting foot on a college campus, geektech wizardry and an interesting trend in blogdom that may have touched yours truly.

Yes, it's exciting times around ol' Rocket Jones! In the words of the immortal bard:

And gentlemen in England now-a-bed
Shall think themselves accurs'd they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks,
Who partook of the merry company 'round Jones.

Yeah, I made that last line up. Sue me. Or pretend it's Danny DeVito reading it to you. Whatever floats yer boat.

Posted by Ted at 05:28 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Son of Nun Gun Fun

I must've slept through this part of catechism class.

(in the extended entry - safe for work)

nun_n_gun.jpg

Posted by Ted at 05:14 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

August 08, 2005

Nun Gun Fun

Disclaimer: This should in no way be taken as an endorsement by the Catholic Church on the proper method of dealing with zombies.

(in the extended entry for the bandwidth impaired - it's safe for work)

Hail of bullets, full of grace...

(click for Holy Moley size)

Posted by Ted at 04:58 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 05, 2005

Things I know about Mary Baldwin College

  • It's located in Staunton, Virginia.
  • It was founded in 1842.
  • It was ranked #22 of top American colleges by the US News & World Report.
  • The student/faculty ratio is 11/1 and the average class size is 18.
  • The Virginia Women's Institute for Leadership is the only all-female corps of cadets in the world.
  • They have the only early college entrance program in the country specifically for gifted young women.
  • They boast an excellent technical theater degree program.
  • Mookie has been accepted and will be skipping her senior year of high school to attend. Classes start at the end of this month.
  • Their mascot is a squirrel. (Not Foamy though, darn it).
  • Here's their home page.

Posted by Ted at 07:31 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

Not Surprised

Remember during the last election when the Dramacrats were so vocal about moving to Canada if Dubya won?

Didn't happen:

Canadians can put away those extra welcome mats -- it seems Americans unhappy about the result of last November's presidential election have decided to stay at home after all.

In the days after President Bush won a second term, the number of U.S. citizens visiting Canada's main immigration Web site shot up sixfold, prompting speculation that unhappy Democrats would flock north.

But official statistics show the number of Americans actually applying to live permanently in Canada fell in the six months after the election. (emphasis mine)

Apparently they all decided to stay and whine. It certainly doesn't seem as if many decided to join the political debate in any meaning