Archive for the 'monkeys!' Category

“I don’t want to grow up, I’m a Toys ‘R’ Us kid…”

Monday, September 18th, 2017
"I don't want to grow up, I'm a Toys 'R' Us kid..."

Monday – 18 September 2017
In alignment with my rationale for #NBNThursday, today has most definitely been “a Monday.” That’s okay, this too shall pass. OK Go said so.

See? Told ya so.

Today started far too early. 5:15 AM early. I was in the office at 6:15. Much respect to those of you who are up, out, and making the doughnuts that early every day. The reason for such an early start was to handle last-minute prep for a week of meetings. In itself, that’s not so bad. It became “not-so-great” on Friday evening when – long after the day had been “done” – I was notified that said meetings were going to start at 10 AM, rather than the 2 PM we had originally been told. In short, our timeline for handling things just had four hours lopped off the top. As there was nothing to be done about it, I simply replied with “We can only do what we can do.” And then, I proceeded to enjoy my weekend.

“Enjoying my weekend” included, but was not limited to:

  • Judging a game tournament.
  • Watching the new DuckTales cartoon (and Star Wars: Rebels and Care Bears) with Team DiVa.
  • Going to the State Fair
  • Playing too few video games.

Fast forward (or would it be “rewind,” in this case) to this morning. We got the prep work out of the way for the influx of meeting participants with time to spare. Yes, there were a couple of glitches, but on the whole, we were done and life was good.

A few minutes after the presenters got started setting up for the day, we were informed that they were changing the configuration of one of the meeting rooms. Okay, fine. Whatever. Then we were informed “why” they were doing it: In the original configuration, only one of the projectors in that room was activated. That was news to me, but it didn’t preclude them from making the room work. As this news was being relayed, a coworker started laughing to himself. Naturally, I asked why. He proceeded to tell us that he knew of this idiosyncrasy.

I’ll pause here to note that he was here last week when we were setting up the room, but said nothing about it.

::: braincramp :::

Mischief managed. And external ire restrained.

The morning wore in afternoon with out much further ado. Thankfully.

And then, I saw this article: Toys ‘R’ Us could file for bankruptcy this week.

I was struck with a sense of nostalgic sadness. One of the first things that went through my mind upon reading the article was the childhood glee of trips to the TRU in Catonsville with either my mother or father. We may not have gone weekly , but there were definitely a lot of trips there. For me, those were the days of The Adventure People, Micronauts, and electric trains (mostly Tyco, when you could buy a decent train set – or just pieces – at your local toy purveyor). I remember asking my father to drive down “the roller coaster road,” a hilly back road ending at the Toys ‘R’ Us parking lot, which – if you went just fast enough – would send rollercoaster-like butterflies into the pit of your stomach. I remember wandering the aisles of the store, while my mother shopped at a clothing store next door. Hell, I still remember the 1970s commercial jingle – the long version.

Roughly a year ago, there were three (3) TRU locations in the Salt Lake Valley. One closed last November, the other closed a few months ago. The lone remaining store is down the street from my house. Yes, I still go there, but it’s not just for me, these days. Over the past couple of years, I’ve noticed the quantity of some toy lines diminishing, while others have… not-exactly “flourished,” but at least survived. But it hasn’t felt like the same store that I used to visit as a kid for a long time. I’m sure that a fair portion of that is attributable to having gotten older.

There was no mention plans for the chain to close in the article, but like so many things, perhaps its time is nearing an end.

My inner kid still hopes that’s a long way off, though.

Vent II: The Wrath of Rob

Saturday, September 2nd, 2017

Saturday – 02 September 2017
Today started off with sleeping in. Until after 9:00 AM. (Those of you with kids understand what this means. Those without, just nod, smile and move on.)

Team DiVa’s fall session of ballet classes started today; they have advanced to “Elementary” from “Beginner.” They were also excited about their new uniforms. (BONUS!) Their teachers is one of the BW dancers, who recognized Sara immediately, when we dropped the ladies off at class this morning.

After their class was done, Sara and the ladies dropped me off at the comic shop, so that I could judge today’s HeroClix tournament. We had a great turnout and there were some good matches. Sealed events – buy boxes of figures and make a team out of what you get – can be kind of a crap shoot, so I was pleased that there were good matches in each round.

Next, a trip to the nearby pet store. Team DiVa has declared their wish for fish for their birthday. This was a part expeditionary run/part “We want to show Daddy pets in a/the store, since he didn’t see them the other day when we went” trip. We were successful on both counts. WIN!

A little while ago, we went to Home-Away-From-Home Depot to purchase a new dishwasher. Yay, home ownership! The one we have is on its last legs and has probably been one foot in the grave, one foot on a banana peel for the past year or two. Mission accomplished.

Okay, hold up a minute. Wasn’t the title of this post something about “Vent” and “Wrath?” So far, this seems to be… rather… well, mild. And nothing really worth getting upset over.

Which brings us to…

On the way home from Home Depot, there is an alternate route we occasionally take, which cuts through another neighborhood near us. We took that route today. Driving down the street, we saw a little kid – three-ish, MAYBE – on a balance bike. Standing at the studded corner of an intersection. Alone.

Kid.
Corner.
Bike.
Intersection
Alone.

I’m going to give those a moment sink in.

Back?  Okay, buckle up. This is not going to be pretty nor easy to read. Sorry.

We pulled over and I got out to talk with the little boy. He pointed across the intersection – across the busier, non-residential street – to the dog (not on a leash) that had run across it. I asked if it was his dog. He just pointed and said “Dog!” I looked back down the residential street and saw a man and another small kid on a bike, two or three houses away. I yelled down and asked if this was his kid on the bike, he acknowledged that it was and started walking in our direction. About the same time, a gentleman came out of the house on the corner and started walking towards me, mostly just assessing the situation unfolding outside his house, which is totally understandable.

The man and Kid 2 got a little closer. I knelt down and pointed towards them, telling Kid 1 (at the corner, but a little farther from it now), ” There’s your dad,” hoping that he would telepathically pick up on the “Don’t play near the street, go back to your dad” vibe I was projecting.

There was a gentleman in a car, approaching the intersection from the residential street, who looked out his window and said, “Thank you” to me. I just nodded and continued to point the little boy to his father.

At the same time, the dog decided to run across the road.

I missed the initial hit, but turned when I heard it, in time to see the back wheels… you know.

Not going to lie: I recoiled.

I looked at the dog, lying in the street. Then, my initial thought was to keep the kid from looking into the street, as I was beginning to suspect that it was the family pet.

The father and Kid 2 drew nearer and I asked if it was their dog. He asked “Black and white,” and there was no further doubt about it: Family dog.  He looked past me and just repeated, “Oh, no…” He walked out into the street and picked up the dog’s body… as Kid 2 started back to the corner to follow him. I shouted at the kid to “…come back this way.” The father, returning to the corner, started yelling at the kids about how he told them to stay in the driveway and not go down the street.

Issue #1: These kids were three-ish/four-ish. Who the Hell lets a kid that young just wander off – let alone on a bike – to the busy intersection?!

As if that wasn’t enough, he started blaming the kids for the dog not only getting hit, but dying. There was really no way to misinterpret his words on that one, especially when the phrase “…is why the dog is dead” was used.

Issue 2: Are you kidding me?!  Blaming the kid for the dog getting hit?! A kid whose sense of self-preservation is undeveloped. A kid who doesn’t know that his dog is going to follow him, wander around – even across a street – then realize, “Oh, hey! My human is over there! I should go there!” How about you keep track of your kid and make sure that he’s safe. While you’re at it, you might want to keep an eye on your dog, too. Just saying.

Once the father and two boys walked down the sidewalk a little way, the owner of the house on the corner approached me and noted that the kids were often up near this end of the street/intersection and just walked away, shaking his head.

::: DEEP BREATH :::

Sometimes, I feel that I might be a little overprotective of Team DiVa. Years ago, we made sure that they knew just how far down our driveway they are allowed to go. (This rule has changed slightly in the past two years, but when we ask the girls, they know what their limit is.) We have emphasized the importance of staying with or near an adult with approaching a crosswalk. We have set and maintained rules about walking in parking lots, whether busy or not.

After seeing this situation unfold, I think that Sara and I are doing just fine.

I don’t like playing “The Balance Game,” but while I’m sad that the dog (needlessly) lost its life, I’m ecstatic that it wasn’t the little boy on the bike.

tl;dr – I saw a dog get hit by a car this afternoon.

Vent

Wednesday, August 30th, 2017

Wednesday – 30 August 2017
Of all the things I had considered posting as a return to this blog, this wasn’t one of them. But, it also wouldn’t fit within Twitter’s constraints… so here we are.

I was notified of a possible system problem this morning. Oh, hey, #LifeInIT. Got it. I contacted people to get more information and feedback, got to the office, dealt with it, had a couple of follow-up meetings and emails. And life was good again.

About 30 minutes after we’d resolved the issue, I got an email from a user. They noted that they were having issues connecting to one of the affected servers. I contacted the user directly and explained what had happened and that their should also have been resolved. User checks… confirms…. and moves on. And life was good yet again.

>> Fast forward TWO HOURS >>

An email arrives from users manager. Um, okay. In rather terse terms, I – along with my not-completely-former boss and HIS boss – and a few other IT staff were informed just how crucial it was that we resolve the problem quickly – did I mention that this was TWO HOURS LATER – because it was affecting important work.  Uh… pretty much all of the work here is important as, if it’s not done, we don’t make product. And if we don’t make product, we don’t get paid. Funny how that all goes together, isn’t it?! And, as if that email wasn’t enough, said manager sent a separate copy to me.

::: braincramp :::

 

It took three or four drafts for me to compose a reply that would not be considered “career-limiting.” But, I did. I made a point of noting that the original issue had been resolved before I got the user’s email and that we had already discussed it. I even added that if anyone was still experiencing similar problems, that they should contact me directly. And replied to all. I even copied my not-completely-new boss, just for good measure. Because I’m that guy.

Less than one minute later, I get a reply from user’s manager, thanking me for the prompt response.

*grblsnrkx*

It’s a bloody good thing that today isn’t Thursday.

tl;dr – I am Jack’s raging bile duct.

This is me, (more than) slightly annoyed.

Tuesday, March 21st, 2017
This is me, (more than) slightly annoyed.

Tuesday – 21 March 2017
This entry can be filed under “Some People’s Children…”

While doing renovations last year, our company added a cafeteria to our facility. The company that ran it couldn’t always keep up with the demand, so they are no longer here. Yes, this means that we have a largely unused space, but that’s another story.

Our Facilities Manager has done an outstanding job of coordinating with a number of local food trucks to have them fill the void. Today, we had a new-to-our-location truck, Bandera Brisket. They had walk-ups not only from our company, but from some of the other firms in the building, as well.  They didn’t know what the turnout would be, so they didn’t come loaded for bear. And they got SLAMMED. They showed up a little before 11:00 AM and, by the time I went out (12:20 PM-ish), they were out of many meats and some sides; I was the 5th or 6th person in line when they announced this.

The guy in front of me turned to me started complaining about “I came out here for brisket, but if it’s all gone before I get there, I’m going to be upset.”

SIDEBAR:
I understand having your heart, mind and taste buds all set for “Food X.” Been there, done that. I also understand that if you wait too long to go and get something, you might find that it’s already gone.

After the people in front of us were gone, he went up to the window and asked whether there was brisket. There was about 1/3 lb, which he got…
AND THEN proceeded to go on a diatribe about “If there hadn’t been any left, and he’d wasted his lunch time waiting for nothing, that he’d be mad…” Blah. Blah. Blah.

Let’s set the record straight on a few things:

  1. There is no requirement for us to have food trucks here.
  2. There is no requirement stating that you have to eat at the food truck, if one is here.
  3. The vendors didn’t know what to expect and it would have been foolish for them to come out here – for their first time – with a truck full of meat that didn’t sell.
  4. Put on your big boy pants and be happy that you have SOMETHING/ANYTHING to eat. Find a meat, ask them to cook it, pay for it, move on.

To me, these things all seem like easy concepts to grasp.
Maybe it’s me.
Maybe it’s Maybelline.

Either way, this comes under #firstworldproblems and it annoyed annoys me.

 

And, in the interest of full disclosure: I wanted brisket. I wound up getting their ribs – with a savory dry rub – and they were delicious.

Okay, rant over. We now return you to your regularly-scheduled Tuesday.

#LifeInIT #ajobaintnuthinbutwork

Wednesday, November 4th, 2015
#LifeInIT #ajobaintnuthinbutwork

04 November 2015
It’s a god-awful small affair…

I’ve worked in IT for over ten (10) years. It’s a diverse field, which is something that not everyone outside of IT gets. (More on this in a minute.) Sure, there are times when I have wanted to beat my head against the wall, but that’s also true for just about any job/career. At the end of the day, I do enjoy my job.

What most people don’t consider is that a lot of what happens in IT is behind the scenes. Most people never think about IT until something is broken. Then it’s four-alarm fire time… ALL THE TIME… until the situation is resolved and everyone is happy again. (YAY!) Contrary to what might be popular belief, there’s more that goes on than “just” designing, configuring, and/or building systems. There’s also maintenance. And updating/upgrading. Streamlining processes. Creating policies and repeatable procedures.

Wait… That sounds like… almost every other job out there!

Another thing that I wasn’t quite prepared for when starting to work in IT was just how much parts of the job resemble a customer service job. While most people are actually fantastic and easy to work with, some users can be snippy, ill-mannered/ill-tempered pains in the ass. (Really, there’s no way to sugar-coat that one. #sorrynotsorry) And, just like customer service, you have to deal with them calmly and rationally.

I’ll let you in on a secret: Working in IT really is a customer service job. Users are your customers. They have varying needs. It’s your IT person’s job to identify that need and find a reasonable accommodation to satisfy that need. If that gets done, everyone walks away happy. Typically, the only difference is that if a user needs something from IT, the whole “May I help you find something?” step is skipped and the conversation starts with “Is it possible to get [problem/situation] taken care of?”

As noted above, some people don’t seem to be clued in to the fact that just because someone “works in IT” that doesn’t mean that they know everything – or even anything – about that one system you’re asking about. I am a system administrator; I deal with servers and storage. I have worked in desktop support/help desk, so I’m familiar with problems with laptops and desktops. Networking? I have enough knowledge to be dangerous there – not necessarily in a “good” way, mind you – but it’s not really in my wheelhouse, so I tend to leave it to the people who actually have more than a rudimentary clue about getting data packets from Point A to Point B and beyond. Programming? Haven’t really done any since college. ‘Nuff said.

Disclaimer: I am a team player. If I’m not elbow-deep in something and if I have some insight into how to ameliorate that user’s situation, I’ll do what I can to help.  That said, there have been more than “a few” times when a user has needed something, has gone looking for Person X to fix it, didn’t find them and then stopped to ask me about their issue. Or, a user will ask for something, I’ll explain the steps that will need to be taken and then they are ready to back down from the initial request. Those are times when all I want to say or do is… well… this:

Okay, maybe without quite so much breaking of things. But, you get the idea.

Another thing I love – and by “love” I mean “drives me full-blown, bat-shit crazy” – is when a user comes up with an “emergency” issue – one that needs to be resolved two hours ago, naturally – and I’m in the middle of another issue or project of equal or more importance. For these people, my inner monologue can be best summed up as the next twelve seconds of this:

To be honest, that has been what goes through my head in those situations for a couple years now. It also allows me to take a mental step back and address the issue at large in a somewhat reasonable manner. Without jabbing needles in someone’s neck. Usually.

Today, I discovered a new inner monologue! Someone was making a request, but was interminably rambling… without getting to the point. What went through my head looked something like this:

Fortunately, filters kicked in before words came out. And, they managed to get to their point. Win-Win.

So, the next time you go looking for your friendly, neighborhood IT person, please consider:

  1. It might not look like it, but she or he is doing something.
  2. Your emergency does not always equal our emergency… unless it’s something that will cause the entire business to come to a grinding halt. In that case, you have our immediate and undivided attention. Usually.
  3. If you have an issue or problem, explain it succinctly but don’t leave out relevant details.

This will make for a happy IT person, a happy you, and a happy work environment.

Namaste.

“Carve away the stone, Sisyphus…”

Thursday, April 2nd, 2015

Thursday – 02 April 2015
Another No Bad News Thursday draws to a close and I realize that it’s been a little while since I’ve blown the cobwebs off of here.

Life is good. I really can’t complain. Oh, sure, getting Team DiVa to actually go to sleep when we put them to bed can be… trying, but they’re kids. It’s normal. I just hope that this phase passes relatively quickly. (That’s normal, too, right? I mean, to hope for that as a parent…)

Last weekend, we took the girls up to Antelope Island. (On which, I have never seen antelope…) We did see bison, however. We also flew a kite and the girls threw rocks in the water. What can I say? It’s one of their favorite pastimes. They also touched the Great Salt Lake… and got a little muddy and sandy, which caused a little consternation on their parts/amusement on ours.

IMG_4083

IMG_4102

IMG_4088

I also stopped at a train store not far from the island, Almosta Junction. Although, compared to the last time I was there, it could just as easily be called “Almost a train shop.” It was a bit sad to see how little inventory they had. That store is definitely a labor of love.

Later that evening, I went to hear Jonni Lightfoot and W. James Woods play at a local restaurant.

IMG_4109

It was a good evening, until the waitress – not 10 minutes after I had paid – came back to tell me that they had no record of me having done so.

*grblsnrkx*

Fortunately, my bank and its app, had my back. Right there on the screen, big as day and twice as bright, was the charge against my account. Idiotsticks.

Stray Toasters

  • We “cut the cord” last week. We bought an HD over-the-air antenna (which has been great) and are just using our Roku (with Amazon Prime, Netflix, and Sling). It’s been good. I do miss the flexibility of having a DVR to catch the things we miss, but I’ve been able to stream those shows, so no major loss.
  • This past Sunday was Palm Sunday. Every year, I recall the song Palm Sunday Downpour, as done by a trio of guys I know who used to go by the band name: Hat. On a lark, I decided to see if I could find a copy of the song on the ‘tubes. Lo and behold, I did. Not only that, It’s been updated and redone by one of the original band members, Christian Scott Martin. It’s not quite the version I remember, but it’s pretty damned close.
  • I’ve been playing – and enjoying the crap out of – Disney Infinity. I just finished the Avengers Play Set a few days ago. The final boss, a Frost Giant monster, took out my entire Avengers lineup. I wound up having to finish it off with Rocket Raccoon, which made me grin like a fiend. God willin’ and the creek don’t rise, I’ll probably get started on the Guardians of the Galaxy set this weekend.
  • Boom de yada
    Boom de yada
    Boom de yada
    Boom de yada
  • Words that I never thought I’d string together: “Read this insurance company fan-fic.

That’s good for now. And, I can still get it in under the wire and still call it “today.” Nice.

Namaste.

Twenty-one minutes and thirty-eight seconds about Ferguson, Missouri

Monday, August 18th, 2014
Twenty-one minutes and thirty-eight seconds about Ferguson, Missouri

Monday – 18 August 2014
There has been A LOT said about the situation in Ferguson, MO on the air – and on social media – over the past week. I actually think that far too much of it has been the reporting equivalent of static. I’ve intentionally stayed rather absent and quiet about it, trying to glean facts from all of the information/sensationalization.

The bottom line for me is:

  • I am sorry for the senseless loss of Michael Brown’s life.
  • It is wrong for a young man – of ANY race – to be killed for simply being suspected of committing a crime.
  • It’s sad and disheartening that in an age where we (as a society) pat ourselves on the back for being so educated and enlightened, far too many people are still judged simply for their skin color. Or their religious beliefs. Or, even something as mundane as the clothes that they are wearing or patterns of speech.
  • It’s telling when some of the best coverage of the news comes from a news satire show, be it The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, or Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.

That said, listen to what Mr. Oliver has to say about the Ferguson, MO debacle and tell me that he doesn’t make sense.

And then listen to this and tell me if it rings true about the state of the media in America, if not the world, today.

Be good to each other. We’re all we have.

Namaste.

“Don’t call it a comeback…” and Team DiVa Tuesday

Tuesday, August 13th, 2013
"Don't call it a comeback..." and Team DiVa Tuesday

Tuesday – 11 August 2013
It’s been a while.
Sure, that’s an understatement, but it’s my blog and there you go.

Over the past couple of weeks, there’s been a lot going on. The highlights include:

The Train Room is (mostly) finished; the only thing remaining is to choose and install some baseboard. The carpet went in at the end of July. It was a bit more of an adventure than expected. And by “adventure,” I mean that the carpet was installed; the same day, we started noticing a couple of problems:

  • It started separating from the step in the room, 
  • There were patches were it appeared to have not been stretched and was coming up from the tack strips, and
  • There were spots where the tacks on said tack strips weren’t bent over… so you could feel them when you walked on those parts of the carpet.

Needless to say, there was a callback to have the job redone. When they asked if I wanted the same installers, I asked to have someone else come out, “to have another pair of eyes look at the job,” as I told the CSR. A few days later, the second installer came out and looked at the job. His comments included:

  • “I can’t believe they left it like this,”
  • “I’m taking pictures of this to send to my boss,” and
  • “This is the second time that I’ve had to go behind them and finish a job.”

When I came home after the fix, things were done properly… including adding a tack strip to the step to hold down the carpet. You know, the way it should have been done the first time.

But, the room is otherwise ready to go… as seen here:

Next up, was the Rush Clockworks Angels concert; my sixth Rush concert and fifth one I’ve attended in Utah. I went with Jeff (Galadriel’s stepdad) for his birthday. We were out on the lawn, just off-center to stage right, which afforded a great view of the venue and the crowd. The band played a show just shy of two-and-a-half hours, excluding a twenty minute intermission. The setlist included songs that I haven’t heard live in many years and some that I hadn’t heard live at all. It was a blast. I even ran into my friend, Jason and his son. Win-Win.

2013-07-31 - Clockwork Angels - 11378

Usana Amphitheatre, waiting for the concert to begin

2013-07-31 - Clockwork Angels - 11383

Ladies and gentlemen… Rush

Clockwork Angels tourbook and ticket

Clockwork Angels tourbook and ticket

And, while not quite as grand in scale as a home improvement project or a concert – but easily as grand on the “cool factor” scale, I got to hang out with Melissa (Sib-4) last week. It was nice; it had been far too long since we’d done so.

Also, last week, I set up my monorail for the girls to play with. I’d expected them to “like” it; I didn’t expect this:

[KGVID]http://blog.echopulse.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/monorail3.mov[/KGVID]

Totally worth it. In fact, it’s become their go-to spot between and after their nightly episodes of Team Umizoomi.

Saturday, we got up early and took the Team DiVa down to Stone Mountain Park for the Sandy City Hot Air Balloon Fest. The girls have been somewhat fascinated with hot air balloons and Sara! learned that the event was coming up, so it seemed like a perfect match.

Up, up and away...

Up, up and away…

We weren’t disappointed: The girls had a great time watching the balloons. They even got to see one landig, as we were driving away. On the way home, they kept asking for “More hot air balloons… More hot air balloons!”

Saturday night, Chris came over to play ‘Clix. We played a couple of games and he whupped my teams rather handily — I don’t think that I even managed to damage any of his characters in the first game. Yeah, it was that bad. But it was fun to play and well worth the drubbing I took.

Sunday was a good day. We started out with a trip to the Wasatch Front Farmer’s Market at Wheeler Historic Farm.

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Quiet repose on a bench – Vanessa (l) and Diana

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Here there be cows…

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Hey! There are rocks here, too!

 We ran into our friend, Diane, whom I don’t think we have seen in… a year or two. We also took the girls to see some of the animals.

Stray Toasters – Team DiVa Music Edition

  • Among the ladies’ top music requests these days are such diverse elements as:
    • Marvin Gaye’s Got to Give It Up – which they call “The Star Song,” because of the cover art that shows up with it on Spotify
    • Gorillaz’ 19-2000 (Soulchild Remix)which they call “Baby Crying,” again because of the cover art. (Not sure exactly how they arrived at this one, but that’s what they call it.
    • The Monkey Song, from Animaniacs – their current favorite pre-bedtime song/video.
      • Sara! surprised me with the information that this wasn’t an original song, but was adapted from a song called Monkey, by Harry Belafonte.
    • Elmo’s Song, from Sesame Street (Hey, they’re kids. Go figure.)
  • Sunday evening, as we were leaving the house to go to Sara’s parents’ house, Diana started singing “I want to ride my bicycle, I want to ride my bike…” Neither Sara nor I taught her Bicycle Race, so we were stymied by her belting it out. It turns out that Sara’s mother taught it to the girls, singing it to/with them whenever they see a bicycle go by. Diana, seeing my bicycle in the garage on our way out, just did what her grandmother had taught her. “Clever girl.”
  • On the way home from dinner, the girls started singing “The Tra La La Song (Theme from The Banana Splits Show).” That one I take full credit/blame for.

And with that, I’m calling this entry “done.”

Namaste.

Team DiVa Tuesday – 23 July 2013

Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013
Team DiVa Tuesday - 23 July 2013

Tuesday – 23 July 2013
Here we go again…

Last night, Sara! told me that Diana took some of her Mega Blox, put them together, hoisted them into the air and said, “Kite!” (Of course she knows what a kite is, she’s my daughter after all.) Following this, she took four blocks, stacked them and did he same thing, but this time, she said, “Rocket ship!” That’s my kid.

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Vanessa (l), Diana

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This happened the other night, during dinner. Completely unsolicited. Completely adorable.

The girls, being “somewhat” inquisitive lasses, like to push buttons and to turn lights off and on. Last week, I decided to test a theory. I built the circuit below – the first circuit that I’ve built in many years:

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Three LEDs, connected to three buttons. Press a button and the corresponding light glows. I figured that I’d see how they liked it. Apparently, they like it quite a bit. They play with it whenever they’re downstairs watching Team Umizoomi.

Over the past couple of weeks, the girls’ preferred bedtime song has been “The Monkey Song,” from Animaniacs.

It’s become the new nightly ritual; they will ask for it before heading to their cribs for “Quiet Crib Time.”

And that’s all for now.

Namaste.

“Carve away the stone…”

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012
"Carve away the stone..."

Wednesday – 23 May 2012
Midweek is upon us again. That means new comics and Movie Date Night.

It rained this morning. I’m sure that my lawn appreciates that, especially since I’m having… issues… with the two zones in my back yard. Nothing insurmountable (I hope), but a little annoying nevertheless.

Last night, for the first time in five months (according to Foursquare), I went to the gym. Yeah, I know: Five months. This morning I was a little sore. But it was good and it was worth it:

  • Elliptical: 15 minutes, 1.5 miles
  • Lower Back Extensions: 3 sets/12 reps
  • Bench Press: 3 sets/8 reps, 135 lbs
  • Curls (dumbbell, seated): 3 sets/10 reps, 20 lbs
  • Flys (dumbbell, bench): 3 sets/8 reps, 20 lbs
  • Compound Row: 3 sets/10 reps, 100 lbs

Not surprisingly, my muscles were “a little” tired by the time I was done. But, I was glad that I went. And glad for a couple of ibuprofen this morning, too.

Stray Toasters

Namaste.

“Long live the…” Oh, I totally misread that.

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012
"Long live the..." Oh, I totally misread that.

Tuesday – 22 May 2012
Today’s another sunny day in the valley.
Tomorrow, however, there’s rain in the forecast, long with a nearly 15 degree drop in temperature. Yay.

There will (hopefully) be a new Adventure Babies: Team DiVa video short in the next few days… if I can catch them doing one of their new cute habits.

Stray Toasters

Namaste.

Another Wednesday in the valley…

Wednesday, March 21st, 2012
Another Wednesday in the valley...

Wednesday – 21 March 12
Midweek is upon us once again. Today is apparently supposed to return warm(er) weather to the Land Behind the Zion Curtain. This would be a “good” thing, in my book… even if we are only two days into Spring.

Team DiVa are doing well. We’ve been working on their independent sitting; they are progressing well. We have also tried introducing them to Gerber Graduates Puffs. Vanessa seems okay with them, but Diana is not a fan. At least, not yet. But, she makes the most adorable “What is THIS?!” face while chewing and just before she spits it out.

Stray Toasters

Namaste.

 

“You can be the President, I’d rather be the Pope…”

Tuesday, February 28th, 2012
"You can be the President, I'd rather be the Pope..."

Tuesday – 28 February 2012
Ordinarily, today would mark the end of the month. But, thanks to leap year – or DC’s “New 52,” according to Thom Zahler – we get an extra day this month. And, at least here in the Land Behind the Zion Curtain, it’s snowy. Well, more like “flurry-y,” but you get the idea. (And, of course, by the time I got back to writing this, it’s stopped.)

Last night was fairly quiet around the homestead. We took a short family excursion to the local Babies ‘R’ Us after work — the girls now have a new activity bouncer/saucer/thingamabob. Then, back home for the girls’ bedtime. And then dinner and a little TV for SaraRules! and me. (Followed, naturally, by some MW3 time for me.)

Chew on This: Food for Thought – Black History Month
Today’s topic is: African Diaspora, the historic movement of Africans and their descendants to places throughout the world—predominantly to the Americas, and also to Europe, the Middle East, and other places around the globe.

The term has been historically applied in particular to the descendants of the Africans who were enslaved and shipped to the Americas by way of the Atlantic slave trade, with the largest population in Brazil (see Afro-Brazilian). In modern times, it is also applied to Africans who have emigrated from the continent in order to seek education, employment and better living for themselves and their children. People from Sub-Saharan Africa, including many Africans, number at least 800 million in Africa and over 140 million in the Western Hemisphere, representing around 14% of the world’s population. It is believed that this diaspora has the potential to revitalize Africa. Primarily, many academics, NGOs, and websites such as Social Entrepreneurs of the African Diaspora view social entrepreneurship as a tool to be used by the African diaspora to improve themselves and their ancestral continent.

Much of the African diaspora was dispersed throughout Europe, Asia, and the Americas during the Atlantic and Arab Slave Trades. Beginning in the 9th century, Arabs took African slaves from the central and eastern portions of the continent (where they were known as the Zanj) and sold them into markets in the Middle East and eastern Asia. Beginning in the 15th century, Europeans captured or bought African slaves from West Africa and brought them to Europe and later to the Americas. Both the Arab and Atlantic slave trades ended in the 19th century. The dispersal through slave trading represents one of the largest forced migrations in human history. The economic effect on the African continent was devastating. Some communities created by descendants of African slaves in Europe and Asia have survived to the modern day, but in other cases, blacks intermarried with non-blacks and their descendants blended into the local population.

In the Americas, the confluence of multiple ethnic groups from around the world created multi-ethnic societies. In Central and South America, most people are descended from European, American Indian, and African ancestry. In Brazil, where in 1888 nearly half the population was descended from African slaves, the variation of physical characteristics extends across a broad range. In the United States, there was historically a greater colonial population in relation to African slaves, especially in the northern tier. Racist Jim Crow and anti-miscegenation laws after the Civil War, plus waves of vastly increased immigration from Europe in the 19th and 20th centuries, maintained some distinction between racial groups. In the 20th century, to institutionalize racial segregation, most southern states adopted the “one drop rule“, which defined anyone with any discernible African ancestry as African.

From the very onset of Spanish activity in the Americas, black Africans were present both as voluntary expeditionaries and as involuntary laborers. Juan Garrido was one such black conquistador. He crossed the Atlantic as a freedman in the 1510s and participated in the siege of Tenochtitlan.

Emigration from Sub-equatorial Africa has been the primary reason for the modern diaspora. People have left the subcontinent because of warfare and social disruption in numerous countries over the years, and also to seek better economic opportunities. Scholars estimate the current population of recent African immigrants to the United States alone is over 600,000, some of whom are Black Africans from the Sub-equatorial region. Countries with the largest recorded numbers of immigrants to the U.S. are Nigeria, Ghana, Sierra Leone and mostly West African Countries. Some immigrants have come from Angola, Cape Verde, Mozambique (see Luso American), Equatorial Guinea, Kenya, and Cameroon. Immigrants typically congregate in major urban areas, moving to suburban areas over time.

There are significant populations of recent African immigrants in many other countries around the world, including the UK and France, both nations that had colonies in Africa.

Stray Toasters

Namaste.

Five months (Part I)

Tuesday, February 7th, 2012
Five months (Part I)

Tuesday – 07 February 2012
Today, Diana turned 5-months-old:

Today also finds me in the south 40. So far, it hasn’t been too painful an experience. And, it’s even been somewhat productive. I consider that combination a good thing. (The doughnuts and the frozen mocha didn’t hurt things, either…)

Last night, and Mr. and Mrs. came over for a visit. As it was the first time any of them had met the girls, there was a bit of surprise of just how big they are — granted, it is kind of hard to tell from just pictures. There were also a few questions about parenthood and life changes, too.  I must admit that I was a little surprised – pleasantly so – at how well the girls took to hanging out with and at how comfortable he seemed with them.  (MENTAL NOTE: Keep this in mind for future babysitting needs!)

Chew on This: Food for Thought – Black History Month
Today’s person of note is Benjamin Hooks, an American civil rights leader, who also served as executive director of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) from 1977 to 1992.

Benjamin Lawson Hooks (January 31, 1925 – April 15, 2010) was born in Memphis, Tennessee. He was the fifth of seven children of Robert B. Hooks and Bessie White Hooks. Young Benjamin’s paternal grandmother, Julia Britton Hooks (1852–1942), graduated from Berea College in Kentucky in 1874 and was only the second American black woman to graduate from college.

In his youth, he had felt called to the Christian ministry. His father, however, did not approve and discouraged Benjamin from such a calling. Hooks enrolled in LeMoyne-Owen College, in Memphis, Tennessee. There he undertook a pre-law course of study 1941–43. In his college years he became more acutely aware that he was one of a large number of Americans who were required to use segregated lunch counters, water fountains, and restrooms. After graduating in 1944 from Howard University, he joined the Army and had the job of guarding Italian prisoners of war. He found it humiliating that the prisoners were allowed to eat in restaurants from which he was barred. He was discharged from the Army after the end of the war with the rank of staff sergeant. After the war he enrolled at the DePaul University College of Law in Chicago to study law. No law school in his native Tennessee would admit him. He graduated from DePaul in 1948 with his Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree.

From 1949 until 1965 he practiced law in Memphis. He participated in restaurant sit-ins of the late 1950s and early ’60s and joined the Board of Directors of Martin Luther King’s Southern Christian Leadership Conference, among many other civil-rights and public-service organizations. He was ordained as a Baptist minister in 1956 and began to preach regularly at the Greater Middle Baptist Church in Memphis, while continuing his busy law practice. He joined the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (then known as Southern Negro Leaders Conference on Transportation and Nonviolent Integration) along with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

In July 1972 Hooks was appointed to the U.S. Federal Communications Commission and became the first black FCC commissioner. As a member of the FCC, Hooks addressed the lack of minority ownership of television and radio stations, the minority employment statistics for the broadcasting industry, and the image of blacks in the mass media. Hooks completed his five-year term on the board of commissioners in 1978, but he continued to work for black involvement in the entertainment industry.

He resigned to become executive director of the NAACP on Aug. 1, 1977, succeeding Roy Wilkins. Hooks also served as the chairman of the board of directors of the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis and helped to found the Benjamin L. Hooks Institute for Social Change at the University of Memphis in 1996. Hooks stressed the need for affirmative action and pressed for increased minority voter registration.

Hooks received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President George W. Bush in November 2007.

Information courtesy of biography.com, FactMonster.com and Wikipedia.

Stray Toasters

Wow… just ran into a wee bit of monkeydom. It’s lovely when the answers you get don’t quite fulfill the questions you ask.

Namaste.

“Boom De Yada… Boom De Yada…”

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012
"Boom De Yada... Boom De Yada..."

Tuesday – 31 January 2012
It’s the end of the month. More specifically, it’s the last Tuesday of the month. That must mean it’s time for Guys’ Night Out. Amen. The only thing that could – and did – make the day better was starting the morning with cuddles from Diana and Vanessa, as well as a kiss and a hug from SaraRules! Quadruple win.

I would also like to thank Ms. Galadriel for coming over (again) last night to help put the twins to bed while SaraRules! was at a Justice League meeting. There was no wailing, moaning or gnashing of teeth. And the twins were fine, too.

My subconscious has been drawing from my memories of 70’s and 80’s TV shows. This has become especially apparent over the past few nights’ dreams.  A few nights ago, Nicholas Hammond (probably most “known” for playing Peter Parker in CBS’ prime-time, live-action The Amazing Spider-Man) made an appearance. And last night, I had a dream sequence that was like a scene from the old Lynda Carter Wonder Woman. (Although the costume was a little wrong.) It was a little odd, but amusing, nevertheless.

And, I woke up with this running through my head:

Stray Toasters

Namaste.