December 2004 Archives

Lady, you're old!

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Seeing as we escaped Iowa this year, we were finally were able to make the famous Pettit holiday get together at their parent's house last night. It was really nice to see everyone, and I'd forgotten how much fun I still have with that crew.

Just before we're about to leave, we're standing around and Alex is standing next to Marci, chatting. Katie, being the shy, retiring type, walks right up to Marci and points at her, then at Alex (both my age--around 35 at the moment) and says "Are you his mommy?"

Needless to say, the conversation stopped, and several reactions ensued. First, Marci turned beet red and started fake-crying, and second everyone lost it laughing, then she did too. Katie, for her part, had no idea what was funny but giggled contentedly when everyone else did.

Out of the mouths of babes.

Katherine has lately been having a bit of trouble showing the proper appreciation for gifts. Some examples follow...

Katie (upon getting a new big kid leapfrog world globe, when she already owns a little kid version): I have that one already!

Katie (talking about what Santa will bring): I hope he doesn't bring books. I hate stupid books.
Kim: But I thought you LIKED books.
Katie: I DO, but not as presents. I want toys!

Katie (overheard alone downstairs, Christmas morning, before anyone else came down): Boy, what was Santa thinking? This isn't what I wanted. And this? What's this? I don't want that.

What we have here, I believe, is a failure to communicate...

How William Gibson does Christmas

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This originally published as "Cyber Claus", copywright William Gibson:

In the night of 12/24/07, though sensors woven through the very fabric of the house had thus far registered a complete absence of sentient bio-activity, I found myself abruptly summoned from a rare, genuine and expensively induced examples of that most priceless of states, sleep.

Even as I hurriedly dressed, I knew that dozens of telepresent armed-response drones would already be sweeping in from the District, skimming mere inches above the chill surface of the Potomac. Vicious tri-lobed aeroforms that they were, they resembled nothing more than the Martian war machines of George Pal’s 1953 epic, “The War of the Worlds”.

And while, from somewhere far above, now, came that sound, that persistent clatter, as though gunships disgorged whole platoons of iron-shod mercenaries, I could only wonder: who? Was it my estranged wife, Lady Betty-Jayne Motel-6 Hyatt, Chief Eco-Trustee of the Free Duchy of Wyoming? Or was it Cleatus “Mainframe” Sinyard himself, President of the United States and Perpetual Chairman of the Concerned Smart People’s Northern Hemisphere CoProsperity Sphere?

“You’re mumbling again, big guy,” said Memory, shivering into hallucinatorily clear focus on the rumpled sheets, her thighs warm and golden against the Royal Stewart flannel. She adjusted the nosecones of her chrome bustier. “Also, you’re on the verge of a major fashion crime.”

I froze, the starched white tails of an Elmore of Shinjuku evening shirt half-tucked into the waistband of a favorite pair of lovingly-mended calfskin jodhpurs. She was right. Pearl buttons scattered like a flock of miniscule flying saucers as I tore myself out of the offending Elmore. I swiftly chose a classic Gap t-shirt and a Ralph Lauren overshirt in shotgun-distressed ochre corduroy. The Gap t’s double-knit liquid crystal began to cycle sluggishly in response to body-heat, displaying crudely animated loops of once-famous televangelists of the previous century, their pallid flanks streaked with the sweat of illicit sexual exertion. Now that literally everything was digital, History and Image were no more than Silly Putty in the hands of anyone with a BFA and a backer in Singapore. But that was just the nature of Postmodernity, and, frankly, it suited me right down to the ground.

“Visitors upstairs, chief,” she reminded me pointlessly, causing me to regret not getting her that last chip-upgrade. “Like on the roof.”

“How many?” And this was Samsung-Sears’s idea of an “expert” system?

“Seventeen, assuming we’re talking bipeds.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“That Nintendo-Dow micropore sensor-skin you had ‘em stretch over the Realistislate? After those Columbian bush ninjas from the Slunk Cartel tried to get in through the toilet-ventilators? Well, that stuff’s registering, like, hooves. Tiny ones. Unless this is some kind of major Jersey Devil infestation, I make it eight quadrupeds – plus one definite biped.”

“It can’t be Sinyard then.” I holstered a 3mm Honda and pocketed half a dozen spare ampules of gel. “He’d never come alone.”

“So maybe that’s the good news, but I gotta tell you, this guy weighs in at close to one-forty kilos. And wears size eleven-and-a-half boots. As an expert system, I’d advise you to use the Mossad & Wesson bullpup, the one with the subsonic witness protection nozzles—“ She broke off, as if listening to something only she could hear. “Uh-oh,” she said, “I think he’s coming down the chimney…”

The Magic of F-cking Playmobil

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This year, Hanukah Harry brough my little katiebug a Playmobil Zoo Set and her Daddy the headache of putting it together. Apparently, it's for either kids old enough to put it together on their own (which would probably mean they wouldn't enjoy playing with it) or kids young enough to want to play with it, but who could not possibly put it together and therefore toss their parents to the plastic lions.

FOUR hours of clicking and snapping later, it's done, and Katie's a happy girl. Of course, Daddy's evening was completely gone by then and the work he needed to do got done by about 12:30 AM, but hey, that's what Daddies are for...

I've hit the big time!

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Well, I'm finally somebody--I got a comment posted on Neil Gaiman's weblog! Of course, I didn't put my NAME, so it could be anybody, but trust's ME!

The lost Black House review has been found --

Neil, Love everything, yadda yadda, big fan, etc... That being said, I decided to google and track down that review, if I could, as i loved Black House and was curious as to what you thought. Here's the review: (black House link here)Moved around, I guess, not sure why. Thanks for American Gods--best read since Snowcrash, in my opinion.


I am SUCH a celebrity now. Please, no crowding.


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I'm making lunch for Ellen and I. She's been difficult to find any sort of protein that she'll eat for school lunches, so whatever we can try, we have been doing. So, I have a Hebrew National salami and I'm making a sandwich for myself and ask Ellen if she'd like to taste.

Me: Want to try it. It's one of my favorites.
Ellen: Well, OK.
Me: I'll cut you a small piece. If you don't like it, don't eat it.
E: Looks can be deceiving.
Me: What does that mean?
E: it means appearances can be deceiving.
Me: I know what the saying means...what does it mean HERE?
E: It might look like it's going to taste bad, but it might taste good.
Me: Ah. OK...well, here you go.

Again, this kid is SIX.

The school librarian, Mary Ann, was teaching a reading group in the library which included Ellen. She was trying to elicit descriptions of character traits of a book they were reading about a ditzy woman.

Mary Ann: Can anyone name any character traits for this woman?
Ellen: I think she has short term memory loss.
Mary Ann: So, are you visiting us from the high school, Ellen?

My scary little 6 year old, at play.

The Olive Garden

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We're watching TV, me in my office, Kim in the living room, and a commercial for that awful Italian "restaurant", the Olive Garden comes on. Their tagline is "When you're here, you're family."

Kim pipes up from the other room: "Yeah, but as soon as you leave, they disown you."

Kick Spam's Ass

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This article in the Guardian is a very cool idea. Basically, Lycos has a screen saver that's sort of like the SETI project, but in reverse. Use extra bandwidth to thwart someone, instead of helping. It's a shame that the bandwidth needs to be used this way, but if the sites that hire the spammers stopped, the spammers would too.

Follow the money, always.

There's no link there yet, but when there is, I'll post it. I think it might be, but there's nothing there as of yet.


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Every night (or nearly every night) for the past several months I've gone for an exercise walk. It's usually about 4 miles, and usually runs around 1 hour (for those of you inexpert with math, that's 4 MPH...)

Anyway, my typical procedure is to wander at high speed in a direction, looking at my watch every so often so I know when I need to start heading towards home. Usually around 25-30 minutes, obviously, I start figuring out a route home. I don't get exactly an hour, but I try not to be 45 minutes away from home after 45 minutes of walking (because, for those math-challenged, that yields a 90 minute walk--which is more than an hour).

Today, I decided to brave this VERY steep hill a bunch of blocks away and then instead of heading down it, I just followed it down the other side. I had NO idea where I was going, but came out somewhere I recognized anyway, which I figured I would, eventually. However, I had no idea what time it was, or how far out I was (I wear a pedometer) and just figured I'd get home eventually.

I walk through the door, sweaty, tired, and worn out from the walk. I look at my watch...59:27. I was only 33 seconds off the hour with a totally random walk! I look at the pedometer:

4.00 miles. Exactly.

I'm going to buy a lottery ticket. The Infinite Improbability Drive must be active around here somewhere.

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