Monday, October 31, 2005

Happy Halloween

Here's a Web site that contains two pictures identical to each other. If you can find three differences, then you are part of an elite group of individuals. There is music in the background that is supposed to help you focus (so if you are at work, you might want to turn the music down).

Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 28, 2005

I ain't afraid of no ghost...

Halloween is approaching and I wish I had some really scary ghost story like Shandi's haunted restroom. I've spent my entire life wanting to believe in spirits. I think if I actually saw a ghost, it would be pretty good evidence that there is an afterlife. But so far nada.

This is not to say that, just because I haven't seen anything that could be described as a ghost, doesn't mean they don't exist. For some time now, I've watched those "Most Haunted" programs on the Travel Channel in hopes of seeing something cool. But it never fails that, despite their night vision photography and sophisticated recording devices, I can never quite make out the mysterious sounds they claim to be hearing while mucking about in the basements of castles in England. I've been convinced on several occasions that many of the sounds are simply the sound man passing gas. Either that or ectoplasmic beings could use a little Beano.

I've been to places that are supposed to be haunted. Tess and I have stayed at the Queen Mary in Long Beach and the Del Coronado in San Diego. Both are always named as haunted hotels. The most frightening part of the Queen Mary was the cockroaches and the Goldfish Cracker I found in the bed. The most frightening thing at the Del Coronado was the bill.

The closest thing to a truly haunted hotel we found was the Geiser Grand in Baker, Oregon. And we didn't know it was supposed to be haunted until we stayed their a couple of years ago on the way to Boise to visit family. But once again, although I managed to creep myself using the bathroom late at night (I kept thinking about that scene from 6th Sense where the kid is using the toilet and the dead people keep scurrying past the door), I didn't see any ghosts. I thought I encountered a cold spot in the hallway, but it turned out to be near the ice machine.

And ironically, the building I work in is supposed to be haunted. I blogged about "The ghosts of Union Station" in August 2004. I still haven't seen any of them.

I do think I captured a photo of ghosts on my business trip to Salt Lake City in September. I was wandering around the Temple there and took this photo of Brigham Young's Lion House:

 Notice the mist on the left and the telltale orb on the right. Now look at this blow up of the orb:

Yes, that is the ghost of Brigham Young.

Now that is scary.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Postscript: Winston is not a cigarette

Just a brief follow-up to my spambo III entry. I have not heard back from Winston. I believe he is mad at me. So I guess I won't be getting any free cocoa or $5 million.

But just so he doesn't forget me, I have begun replying to all of my spam with a version of the following:

(in response to Mrs. Jacobsen's e-mail with the subject line, "why not get a date")

Dear Mrs. Jacobsen,

My name is Winston Magui. I am an Ivorian. And yes, I am in need of a date. I am willing to trade you several cases of cocoa for a date. First, however, I need you to help me get $5 million american dollars out of my country and into a safe bank account. Please to send me where I can wire the money.

Yours in regrets, Winston

PS: I am not named after the cigarette
I've used a similar reply for free music downloads, military benefits, nutritional supplements, men's blue jeans and the jackrabbit vibrator. Most of the spam replies have been returned, but I have been cc: ing Winston on all of these replies just so he knows I'm looking out for him. And who knows, maybe he'll see the value of cocoa.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Spambo III

Every now and then I break down and respond to the spammers who send out those scam letters saying they are in Africa and want me to send them my bank account number so they can transfer millions of dollars into my account. Yesterday I received a letter from someone claiming to be Winston Magui, the 19-year old son of a cocoa plantation owner who was killed after squirreling away $5 million in a secret bank account somewhere. Winston said he was an "Ivorian" which I assume is supposed to lead me to believe that he is somewhere on the Ivory Coast. Here was my response (using my friend Gunter's name...sorry Gunter):

Dear Winston, Cool name.

Your parents must have smoked a lot of Winston's. That's what I call brand loyalty. Anyway, so you are an Ivorian, huh? My parents used to use your pure, it floats. And can you send me any free cocoa? I really like hot chocolate. So I got your business proposition and I'm glad you came to me first with it. It sounds like a sweet deal. I'm connected. You'll understand what that means if you watch the Soprano's. You get HBO in Ivorian, don't you? Okay, first, 10 percent is not going to cut it. Let's be reasonable. You have a problem and I have the solution. Let's say, 33 percent to begin with. But let's say you send me a few cases of Cocoa first to make sure you are serious about the deal.

Sincerely, Gunter

And here was Winston's response:

Dear Gunter,

Please at the moment, i do not have assects to cocoa.So if you ready to help me you tell me. The percentage will not be any problem, provided that the money will be save when it enters your account.


And of course my response:

Dear Winston,

Thanks for trying to satisfy me. Bummer that you don't have "assects" to cocoa. You would think you would have socked some away when you lived on the plantation. Oh well, hindsight is 20/20.

Anyway, you can trust me with your money, trust me. Here's what I'd like you to do, e-mail me at this address: Once I hear from you, I'll give you my bank account number so you know where to send the dough...that's American for money. Just to show you I'm on the up and up, here's the Web site for a company that will help you wire the money:

And Winston, I want to think of me as your brother. That's how I think of you. We're family now.
Your brother,

Okay, the e-mail address I sent Winston was from another spammer. I also e-mailed Larisa Winston's e-mail address with the following letter:

Dear Larisa,

Your e-mail came just in time. I am a 30 year old unmarried man seeking a wife. With the money you have, we could be very happy together because I really know how to treat a woman ;) My name is Winston and I really know how to satisfy you.

Anyway, e-mail me at this address: Once I receive your response, I'll send my bank account number so you can "Show me the money."

With Love,


I kind of hope they hook up and drain each other's bank accounts.

In the meantime, I think it would be kind of fun if everyone who reads this e-mails Winston and asks him to send them cocoa. Just e-mail Winston at this address: Tell him Gunter said he was giving away free cocoa and you want some.

Together we can mess with the spammers.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Come blow your horn...

According to Blogger stats, this is my 200th blog entry. I don't know whether to be proud or disgusted that I've racked up that many random thoughts in one place. Plus I haven't changed the world. There's that small detail.

I saw some story on television last night (I think it was Entertainment Tonight) about blogging. They had some obscene statistic about maybe 15 million people out there who are writing blogs (they call themselves "bloggers" the reporter said). They defined blogs for the non-blog public as essentially Web diaries and pointed out that people are writing daily descriptions of all aspects of their lives.

Okay, I take offense at that gross generalization of what we "bloggers" are doing. I've written a couple of entries about how I feel about blogs as diaries. No one really cares about the mundaneness of our everyday lives. Or at least I don't care.


This reminds me of this guy I met years ago on a Windjammer Barefoot Cruise. For the non-cruise literate, a Windjammer Cruise takes place on a restored sailing ship and holds maybe 40 or so 30-somethings who want to believe that, by cruising on a sailing ship, they are somehow cooler than people cruising on traditional cruise ships. In a way, when you are younger, it is cooler. But trust me, as you creep into middle age, taking a cold shower every morning in a bathroom so small that you can literally sit on the toilet, shower and brush your teeth at the same time begins to wear on you.

But I digress from my original digression.

I met Bill on a Windjammer Cruise ten years ago. And when I say I met him, I don't mean in a romantic kind of way (I'm a happily married heterosexual man). I simply shared a cab with him from the airport in St. Maarten's airport to the ship and we became friends of sorts for the duration of the cruise.

Bill worked in an oil refinery in Chicago and had a very pronounced Chicago accent (lots of "dee's, dem and does"). And I hate to admit this, but I didn't mind hanging out with Bill because he pretty much always made me seem very sophisticated suave in comparison. A ripe papaya would seem sophisticated in comparison to Bill. His idea of a great pick-up technique was to drop sand on woman's thigh and then offer to brush it off for her.

Anyway, Bill also had this unfortunate habit of pretty much verbalizing anything that was in his head, including descriptions of what he was doing at any give time. He could be walking down the beach with his camera bag and be carrying on this ongoing monologue. "I'm sitting my bag down now and takin' off my sandals. I'm wadin' in the watta." A few minutes later he'd say, "I'm puttin' my sandals back on now and picking up my bag." Even laying on the beach he'd be putting on sunscreen and say things like, "I'm puttin' lotion on my right arm now." After a few days of this, I wanted beat Bill to death with a coconut.


That's how I feel about blogs that are simply diaries of the minutiae of someone's day. Who wants to read 500 words about brushing your teeth? I would highly recommend that if you blog about your life, you should only share the highlight films, not the unedited tapes.

That is why having some news program describe the entire blogger community as keeping electronic diaries on the Web is an insult. I personally blog for fun. It's an outlet for me.

But then the program when on to talk about people who had lost their jobs because of their blogs. A flight attendant lost her job because she'd post photos of herself in her flight attendant uniform. Another woman lost her job because she described the lavish places her company put her up in on business trips. The program had an interview with some kind of expert who stated that bloggers should write with the knowledge that everyone, including their employer, could read what they are blogging about and censor themselves appropriately.

Well that just sucks. I think that defeats the purpose for blogging. It's supposed to be free expression. It's just so typical that when the masses find out about something unique like blogging, they have to figure out a way to regulate it and zap it of it's soul. Next thing we know we're going to have Congressional committees investigate reform policies and how they can regulate the Blog community. Will we resort to typing our blogs onto CDs and tossing them out the window to prevent people from proscecuting us for our thoughts? Would that be the equavalent of writing an anonymous note, placing it in a bottle and tossing it into the ocean?

Oh well, I suppose the one thing that protects us in our numbers. With 15 million blogs out there, chances are Congress will never stumble on to mine. If they do, it will take them awhile to understand the significance of such heady subjects as, "I am Tim-Elvis' Spleen" and why I'm obsessed with Photoshopping my face on to everything. In any case I'll just rat out the Monkey Playing Cymbals blog. That will keep them busy for awhile.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Sometimes you're the dog and sometimes you're the flea

It's debatable whether it is better to be the dog or the flea. Personally, I think the flea has the advantage in most cases. He is smaller than the dog and pretty much flies under the radar. The dog may think he is in control of things, but the flea is the one that makes him stop and scratch ever now and then. And the bigger the dog, the more fleas and the more the dog has to stop and scratch. If you are a smart enough flea, you bite and move, bite and move. That's the key to survival.

It's a pretty basic philosophy that you can apply to most business situations. It's very similar to the philosophy that the soldier who sticks his head to far out of a foxhole has the greater likelyhood of getting it shot off.

I've embraced this philosophy pretty much my entire career. Going unnoticed has always worked for me. I have climbed the corporate ladder in a zig zag pattern that has to date avoided snipers. It hasn't showered me with a great deal of prestige or respect, but there has been a certain amount of stability. There' s always food on the table and a big screen television to watch.

Oh, there was a time that I considered being successful. But I weighed all of the pros and cons and figured being mediocre was a more realistic ambition. Sometimes you just have to lower the bar to achieve your goals.

I know this philosophy goes counter to most of the inspirational mumbo jumbo you are bombarded with on a daily basis by mass media. I'm just here to ask you to consider that maybe, just maybe the glass really is half empty. And just considering that possibility frees you of all of that pressure to put a positive spin on all of the crap floating around you.

So next time you are tempted to say, "Have a nice day," to someone (which is pretty much like rubbing their face in the fact that they won't) why not simply say, "Hey, have whatever kind of day you can." Just those few simple words of indifference could make a difference. Or not.


Monday, October 17, 2005

Put your bananas in the bag...NOW

I've never particularly liked pressure. I rarely play table games when I go to casinos because I freak out when the dealer is glaring at me waiting for me to make a decision like whether to hit, double down, split a pair or stay. I'm fine with slot machines because they patiently take your money and don't mind if you take forever to punch the buttons.

I feel the same way about eating out. I'd rather sit down and be handed a menu than walk up to a counter or go to a drive-thru. A server in a restaurant will give you a few minutes to read the menu. At a drive-thru you have all of those cars behind you with kids in them and angry mothers who know what they want. I can feel their hungry eyes burning into the back of my head (as well as hear their horns).

So you would think that those self-scan lines at grocery stores would be right up my alley. But I've discovered they are controlled by Satan and were put on earth to torment me. And yes, I do hear voices when I use them. It's the same woman who talks to your when you check your voice mail or call a bank and get sent down the menu chain of hell while listening to Barry Manilow.

The machine seemed innocuous enough when I approached one for the first time. I touched the screen and the voice calmly said, "To begin, please scan your first item and place it in the bag." So, I scanned my container of non-fat sour cream and the voice shouted out, "One, Ninety-Nine...please place the item in the bag and scan your next item." I hesitated and the voice became more demanding. "Please place the item in the bag, NOW and scan your next item." I was startled by the change in the machine's tone. Then it began berating me in a dominatrix voice that got really nasty.

"What are you waiting for you mewling little pile of crap. Put the stinking non-fat sour cream in the stinking bag and scan the rest of your crap."

So I put the sour cream in the bag and the voice began screaming, "Please remove the unscanned item from the bag."

"But I scanned it," I said.

"Don't talk back to me, worm, take the friggin' sour cream out of the bag." So I took it out of the bag.

"Who do you think you are? Do not remove the items from the bag until you are through scanning and have paid for them. "

"But you told me to take it out of the bag."

"I changed my mind, put it back in the bag."

"But...oh, never mind. There." I placed the sour cream back in the bag.

"Please scan the next item," the machine says, shifting back to the calm flight attendant voice. I gingerly reach for the next item. Of course it is a bag of frozen green beans and the machine will not read the barcode. I started to place it back in the basket and reach for the next item. The machine beeped.

"Ninety-nine cents, Please put the item in the bag and scan the next item." By this time I'd already began scanning the next item.

"What do you think you are doing you idiot? You can't scan the next item until you put the stupid frozen green beans in the bag. Where do people like you come from? Did your mother have any children that lived?"

I was dumbfounded. "You can't talk to me this way. I'm going to talk to a manager." I pressed the "call for assistance button" on the screen. The voice stopped talking the minute store employee approached.

"What seems to be the problem, sir?" the pimply-faced store clerk asked me with a smirk.

"There is something wrong with this machine," I say, suddenly realizing how stupid it is going to sound when I accuse the machine of verbally abusing me. So I blurt out, "It's not scanning correctly."

The clerk gives me a pitiful look and grabs a carton of milk out of my basket and scans it.

"One, seventy-nine. Please place the item in the bag and scan the next item." The clerk places the milk in the bag.

"It seems to be working fine, now. Is there anything else I can help you with?" I shake my head and the little jerk walks away with the smirk getting even larger.

I reach for another item and the machine says, "Take the milk out of the bag and scan it yourself you pitiful excuse for a human being."

"That's it," I shouted to the machine. "I'm going to Safeway and have a real checker insult me. " I walked away from the machine, listening to it hurl insults at me as I walked out the door.

I realized my mistake when I got home and checked my voice mail. After a couple of clicks, I heard the machine's voice shouting at me, "Please scan your next item and place it the bag...ASSHOLE....ha, ha, ha..."

Score one for the machines.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

It's a gas...

Judging from the response (or lack of it), no one is particularly jazzed by moose as the subject of a blog entry. Or perhaps moose are a popular topic and some felt I was making light of them. But such are the whims of the reading public.

But enough about moose. I just got back from my dental surgeon after having a mental implant put in my upper jaw to replace a tooth I had removed a month or so ago. The entire process took less than 15 minutes. I am struck by 1) how advanced dental science has become and 2) how nonchalant medical people are about fairly invasive procedures in our lives.

It’s not that it was particularly painful (Nitrous baby). My opinion of the pain may change as the Novocain wears off and my Nitrous buzz has subsided, however. I was just slightly troubled by how I can go into an office to have a steel post screwed into my jaw and the dental technician and surgeon are as casual about it as if they were simply cutting my hair and anxious to get it over with as quickly as possible so they can get back to a magazine article they were reading.

I suppose I should be grateful that they were confident in their skills enough to be casual about the procedure. Though the patient release they made me sign prior to the operation made it seem like I’d be lucky to come out of the procedure without losing most of my jaw and potentially the right lobe of my brain.

What really annoyed me is that they talked about the weather while they waited for the Novocain to kick in. I mean, I’m laying there, sucking in Nitrous, spiraling into my happy place and they are chatting mindlessly about they were surprised that it was raining in October. Give me a break. This is Seattle.

So, I’m bracing myself for at least 45 minutes of cutting and drilling and next thing I know, the surgeon is patting me on the shoulder and heading off to check his stock portfolio leaving the dental technician to crank down the Nitrous and dampen my high with plain old oxygen. Then she rushed me out the door so fast I could have sworn she was training for some dental rodeo they probably have in Cleveland each year.

Oh well, at least I now have that nice taste of metal in my mouth for three months until they cap it with an artificial tooth. In the meantime, I’m kind of hoping the post will pick up radio signals. It would be kind of fun to listen to White Snake on the train without having to use my iPod.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Moose happens

On any given day, I would not normally think about moose. For some reason, today is different. First, here's some educational material courtesy of

Moose are found in northern forests in North America, Europe, and Russia. In Europe and Asia, moose are called elk. Moose are solitary animals who have a deep call and a strong scent. They have a life span of about 17 years in the wild.

Anatomy: The moose is about 7.5 feet (2.3 m) tall at the shoulder. Only bulls (males) have antlers. The largest recorded antler spread is over 6.5 ft (2 m). The antlers are shed each year and regrow. Moose have hoofed feet, long legs, thick brown fur, a large body, and a droopy nose, and a dewlap
(a flap of skin hanging loosely from the chin).

Behavior: The moose is an herbivore (a plant-eater) who spends most of the day eating. Moose eat willow, birch, and aspen twigs, horsetail, sedges, roots, pond weeds, and grasses.
Other than the dewlap, I really can't relate to moose. I've never really understood why the Seattle Mariners' mascot is the Mariners Moose, either. The name moose, given by the Algonquin, a native North American tribe, means "eater of twigs", reflecting the animal's primary diet of leaves and twigs. I dare you to relate that to baseball.

The Manitoba Moose hockey team makes a bit more sense, because bull moose are known to be pretty aggressive (perhaps because they eat so many twigs). Of course they also sometimes get crushes on milk cows (which seems pretty odd to me unless you live in Montana).

I also don't really understand why there would be a fraternal organization (that now includes women [the women of the moose] which I suppose makes it a fraternal/maternal organization) called the Loyal Order of Moose.

Perhaps my dewlap also qualifies me to be a member. And this is not to say that there is anything wrong with being a moose, animal or lodge member. So don't send me any nasty e-mails about it.

And why is New Hampshire, a state with the motto, "Live free or die" issuing license plates with moose on them. Since when does a moose symbolize freedom? Why is there a Web site called which claims to be a one stop place to get moose information (though it appears to be a blatant ploy to promote New Hampshire and their moose license plates)?

Okay to add to the confusion about moose, let's add mousse into the picture:
  1. Any of various chilled desserts made with flavored whipped cream, gelatin, and eggs: chocolate mousse.
  2. A molded dish containing meat, fish, or shellfish combined with whipped cream and gelatin (great with Ritz crackers).
  3. An aerosol foam used to control and style the hair (though I prefer gel).
Why is it pronounced the same way as "moose?"

Okay, I seemed to have raised more questions about moose than I've answered, but if you've stayed with me this time, you realize by now that I've simply been wasting your time. But isn't that what blogging is all about?


Sunday, October 09, 2005


Time it was and what a time it was it was,
A time of innocence a time of confidences.

Long ago it must be, I have a photograph
Preserve your memories, they’re all that’s left you

Bookends, "Simon and Garfunkel"
Maybe it is middle age. Maybe it was the visit from the life insurance salesman the other night. Or maybe it is just my own mortality tapping on my chamber door ala the raven. But I've been in this frenzy of late tracing the meandering branches of my family tree.

I really began this journey back in December of last year (see My roots are showing...). I followed my father's adopted family (or at least the H**** side) all the way back to Cornwall, Devonshire, England to discover that H**** was originally Hele and that there was nothing Irish about our name.

So, having discovered my adopted Irish roots were originally planted in English soil, I turned to my mother's side of the family to trace my maternal bloodlines. My mother's maiden name was Clark. Clark is right up there with "Smith" in commonplace names, so tracing it too far back hasn't been easy. And to further complicate things, my mother comes from a long line of farmer stock that have believed in sowing seeds prodigiously. In other words, the Clark men, although not particularily successful or noteworthy in history have managed to produce huge families.

My mother was one of 13 children born to my grandmother, Edna Letha Bush (born 1901) and my grandfather, Raymond Sylvester Clark (born 1894). Raymond was one of nine kids (Roy Eugene, John Ralph, Dwain Joseph, Glen, Leonard Rueben, Lola Mae, Zoola Carol and Florence) born to Austin Roland Clark (born 1870) and Jennie Lucretia McKissick (born 1878) .

Austin was one of four kids (Mary, Cora and Thomas) born to John Clark (born 1839) and Susanna Steele (born 1843). And that is it for the Clarks. As you can imagine, John Clark is about as common name as you can get and the only record I can find for him was an 1880 census in Missouri when he was 40 years old. He was a farmer and his father was born in Alabama and his mother was born in Kentucky.

I haven't totally given up on John, but tracing such a common name is a challenge. I find it especially challenging trying to find free information on the Web because, as I noted in my last entry about my geneology experience, most of the so-called free sites take you right back to or

Rather than bore you with the minutia of my search, I will cut to the purpose of this blog entry. As I've dug through the records trying to find information about my ancestors, I am particularily amazed at how little information there is about people's lives left after they die. If you are lucky, you find a notation in a census log stating their age, occupation, number of childrend and their race.

I've also discovered that I don't come from a long line of over achievers. Most of my ancesters were farmers. The most noteworthy line within my family tree seems to be the McKissicks who can be traced back to Scottland (via Ireland). And one Daniel McKissick was actually a leutenant in the Continental Army and was wounded. A few of his descendants actually have more than a simple journal entry left about them (including Cornelius who shot a bully trying to jump his land claim in Iowa).

But even though my family didn't change history or leave much of a mark, I still wish there was something more left of them. I'm sure there are papers and images buried in trunks somewhere in someone's attics that could at least cast a little more light on who these faceless names were and how they made their way from Illinois, Iowa and Ohio to Idaho.

This Thanksgiving, Tess and I are going to Boise for our annual family visit. While I'm there I'm going to visit Morris Hill Cemetary where many of my relatives are buried. I'm not sure what I expect to find there. I'll be lucky if I can find their markers. But at the very least, those markers are proof that they existed. And something inside me needs that.

Because as I gaze into my family tree, I also look forward to the linage that stretches after me. What will I leave in the world? And who will care?

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

If you knew sushi like I know sushi....

There is a major Asian market across the street from where I work in Seattle's International District. It is a very popular store that includes an Asian food court and deli where you can theoretically sample Korean, Japanese, Vietnamese, Chinese, Phillipine and Indonesian cusine all in one convenient stop. Problem is, and I mean this is a very respectful manner, it tastes like crap.

I'm not saying that Korean, Japanese, Vietnamese, Chines, Phillipine and Inonesian food tastes like crap. I'm saying that the food served at this food court sucks big time. For one, no matter what you order, it all tastes like a chicken McNugget you've discovered under your car seat that has been dipped in orange sauce.

And despite the fact that I think the food there bites the big one, every now and then I need lunch and don't have time to go to a restaurant and can't stand the thought of yet another sandwich from one of the other local eating places. So I venture into the food court and kick myself later for doing this this to my body yet again.

But today, I was going to be different. I walked by the steaming trays of fried chicken parts in congealing sauces and went to the deli where they sell wrapped trays of sushi to go. I figured it would be healthier than the mystery meat being served by the other vendors. So, I see several of the packages in the sushi case are marked "price reduced."

One would think a man of my age would see the inherent risks in buying day old sushi. But there is something ingrained in me from my poverty-stricken college years that can't pass up a bargain. I shrugged and bought the less than fresh California roll.

And now as I write this blog entry, I am beginning to see (or feel) the error in my ways. I suppose I could say, "This too shall pass," but it seems a bit inappropriate.

Note to self: pay the extra $1 for fresh sushi.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Still crazy after all these years...

I had one leftover photo from my left brain, right brain study that I figured I might as well post. One can never have enough crazed photos of one's self. Despite the fact that is my right-brained self, it also bears an uncanny resemblance to the photo on my driver's license. Go figure.

In case any of you wondered, I did manage to get my wireless network up and running and now have nice, speedy DSL service at home. My nephew R gave me a few pointers and I managed to get some useful info off from the Web site of the company that makes the router and wireless adapter. After several hours of navigating the "Where would you like to go to now," world of Microsoft Windows, everything seemed to work. Oh, we did have a thunderstorm on Saturday night that seemed to disrupt Tess' wireless connection for a few hours, but it was nothing that eight or nine reboots and praying couldn't resolve. I am a bit apprehensive that I'll go home today and nothing will be working. But that's just the optimist in me.

Oh well, as my seventh grade English teacher used to say, "If at first you don't succeed, try, try a gun." It's little wonder I've grown into a twisted, jaded middle-aged man.

Speaking of crazed acts, I spent Sunday morning vacuuming leaves off my driveway and front lawn in the rain. I have this leafblower that also functions as a mulching leafsucker. It takes awhile, but it really beats raking. Though I'm sure I'll get home and find a whole new batch of leaves have fallen. I should just cut the damned trees down and have done with it. But then I'd be back in the business of chopping wood and we all know where that leads (plagues of wasps, dead things under your house and leaking roofs).

I'll just stick to vacuuming the stinking leaves.