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Thursday, September 28, 2006

Picture Perfect Thursday III - "Leaving Summer"

Originally uploaded by JayMonster.
Autumn is once again upon us. A time for putting away the summer chairs and patio funiture, packing up the yard toys and the seemingly never ending task of raking leaves.

This photo that I took a year ago (a year ago? really? Geez) occurred during another one of those times that LatteGirl helped remind me to stop and appreciate what is around me.

She loves, picking up colorful leaves, making her version of decorations and center-pieces out of them. But just as important to her is her seemingly unabashed love for nature. No expensive toys needed this day, no huge plans or trips. Entertainment is as simple as jumping in a huge pile of leaves.

She is not alone of course in this. Kids everywhere love that opportunity to just dive into that pile of leaves. Unfortunately many times, the adults of the world, forget too easily the joys of such things, only concerned with getting chores done, or not wanting to have to "rake all those leaves again" to let these simple yet wonderful chances to take place.

Autumn offers many people, who do not give it a second thought most of the time to sort of get reconnected with this planet we live on. It is a time for Apple Picking, Pumpkin Picking, enjoying a warm glass of apple cider on a crisp autumn day and many other simple pleasures that we tend to ignore in our techno-rushed world we live in.

As I have gotten older, autumn started to lose some of this for me personally. It became the time of year for Antique Shopping (OK, TheWife was shopping, I was just the "bag man"), "winterizing" and other things that made the season dreary for me, as by the time I finished everything else, I missed it. Autumn was gone and winter was already upon us.

This year, I hope to take more of that in. Stop to see the color. Look at the world again like a kid. And maybe, just maybe take a leap into a pile of leaves. Won't you join me? I'll have the warm cider ready.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Scary People Part II

It is only a bit more than a month right now until Halloween. Do yourself a favor. Get your kids to decide on a costume and go get it NOW! Don't wait until the last minute.

We have never, ever waited on getting LatteGirl's costume. In several cases, because we acquired it from the Disney Store (can you say overpriced?), we had her costume literally MONTHS ahead of time.

Back in the days before child, I often had to start on my costume early, because I usually made all or part of the costume myself. Those days are gone, unfortunately since it would now become a choice between making a costume and and the few hours of sleep I am actually managing to get. Obviously sleep wins. And the past couple of years due to work, etc I have waited until the last minute to try and grab a costume. Oh sure, by the time I went, they were "on sale." But the things that became obvious were, first the reason the costumes remaining were on sale, was because nothing that was left was anybodies first choice (things like Jar Jar Binks costumes, and worse), second they figured they needed to give you a couple of dollars off so that you could purchase some Aleve on the way out. It was a battle zone as procrastinators, fought for each and every one of these costumes.

Yes, I have added some links over on my sidebar, and if you happen to decide to click on one, and you wind up buying a costume, I will make a few pennies (see my Disclosures and Policies). But, please. Don't click if you don't want to. Shop at Target, Wal-Mart, whereever. Just stop procrastinating. I did not post this today as some ruse (ala PayPerPost [note lack of linkage there]). I put the links up now, and wrote this today, because looking at the calendar reminded me that I swore I would not go through that war zone again. And If I can save just one other person from that this year, I will feel as though I have done my job to make the world a better place.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Scary People

Halloween is still more than a month away. But already I am scared. Very scared.

I found this article by way of Reality Me, and I must say, it sent chills down my spine.

What I can't figure out is which is worse. That people actually will stand up in front of a room full of people and make a claim like:

"Contraception is the root cause of the explosion of the amount of abortions in the world"

or the fact that people actually ever listen to these people again after this. No they actually FOLLOW them. It is amazigly sad.

I forgot what comedian said it, and at the time it was funny, but now it sounds more plausible than ever when you listen to this nuts:

"... What will they do next? I suppose if I masterbate at the same time
some woman, according to their computers is ovulating they will arrest us both
on 'Conspiracy to commit abortion' ..."

Do these people ever think about, maybe just maybe if they stopped shoving their daughters into "Virginity Pledges" and other such stupidity, and taught something in addition to abstinence (note I did not say replace it... "absitnence is best, but if you are going to ...") then maybe, just maybe they wouldn't have so many "pre-born" children that they would need to go and save?

Monday, September 25, 2006

Oh No! They Got Me!

OK, so we handled the gas crisis. We are a one car family, and I take public transportation to and fro. Gas and Electric prices jumped. No problem. High efficiency light bulbs and new air conditioners reduced our Electric use almost 40% from last year. Heating Oil prices up? New digital thermometers and lowering the temperature a couple of degrees helped reduce the pain (I can't deny that is was still a bit painful... but not as bad as first imagined).

But now I have been hit where it hurts. You see, it was announced today that Starbucks has raised the price of a a cup of coffee by a nickel and .50 a pound for their beans. (See more here).

I guess sooner or later there are some increases that you just can't get around.


We survived the weekend unscathed (for the most part).

LatteGirl got a bad case of nerves prior to her game, and didn't want to go. In trying to teach her to honor her commitments, we told her she had to go since she had already promised her team and coach that she would be there. Many tears were shed, but she went.

Well, not surprisingly she had a blast playing and even scored a goal in her first game, and her team won making her all smiles, and of course she now loves it more than ever and is looking forward to playing again.

By the time Saturday evening rolled around everyone was pretty well wiped (no big surprise there) so we put off the carnival until Sunday. So LatteGirl and I hit the carnival together (TheWife had other plans with her sisters for Sunday which is why we were originally trying to fit everything in on Saturday). Our luck was absolutely phenomenal. I expected to spend around $20 and maybe... MAYBE wind up with one stuffed animal from the games of chance. We stopped after spending around $15 because we already had 6 LARGE stuffed animals and we just couldn't carry any more. Sure these were cheap stuffed animals and the total cost of them was probably around $6 total, but we had a blast, and LatteGirl got a kick out of being the one getting pointed at by other kids, who wanted to win "that" particular item, or "that many" prizes.

So, I guess you could call it a win-win-win weekend.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

How did this happen?

In the six years that LatteGirl has graced us with her presence, I have learned a lot about being a parent. Probably, though the most important lesson is that no matter what your start out planning, pay attention to parents that come before you. No, not necessarily your parents or grandparents, because well, admittedly some things do change with time, so things are much different now than they were THEN.

But that parent that you know that has that kid a year or even several years older. The one that has already lived through the experience, and tells you what you will be up against. C'mon, I can't be the only one. You remember. The one that told you about certain pitfalls and traps that await you, and you being the starry-eyed perfect planner that says, "Well, I am never going to fall into that THAT trap!" or "I will never let that happen with my child."

Morph a few years ahead, probably after you have already forgetten the warnings and advise you had dismissed previously, when BAM! You find yourself in the exact same place. This has happened with LatteGirl more times than I care to admit, and probably more times than I actually remember.

The most recent example is today. We have always sworn we would not let her fall into "overscheduled child" symdrome. You know, where you have far too much going on at one time. Now to keep my pride somewhat intact I will say, it is not a daily or even weekly occurance that this happens. It is only "once in a while", but yet despite our best intentions and efforts we still wind up with days like this:

7AM - Rise and shine
8:15 - 9:30 Soccer Game
10:30 - 12:30 Seasame Street Live (we bought the tickets months ago)
2:00 - 4:30 Birthday Party
7:00 - ?? Local Parish Carnival

And we actually removed her dance class from this schedule (she will make it up later).

Add it the time for traveling to and from each event, throw in a little bit of time to perhaps actually stuff some food down your throat, and that is one heck of a schedule for a 6 year old to handle (hell, that is a heck of a schedule for a 40 year old to handle).

The whole soccer thing is new to the schedule (more on that in upcoming days), so that is something we will have to work in... but I still can't figure out... how the heck, despite our best efforts to plan otherwise, that we wind up with days like this.

To those that tried to warn me there would be days like this no matter how hard I tried to not overschedule. Sorry... You were right.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Please don't say it...

When I was around 11 years old it started the first time. It seemed like at the time, my family was dying off at an extremely rapid rate. By the time all was said and done around 3 or so years later, I was on a first name basis with a number of people at the couple of funeral palors my family seemed to always use.

Then almost as quickly as it started, it all stopped. I guess I just ran out of old relatives. Although the frequent trips to the funeral palor have not started yet, it seems as though it is right around the corner.

Why would I think such a thing? Well, let me just say the signs are all there. Every phone coversation I have with a relative seems to include one of the following words or phrases. Phrases that if I don't hear again in my life, I would be very happy. Some of these are not neccesarily proof that the end is near with someone middle aged or younger, in that case there is of course still room for hope of recovery, but with the aging crowd, it becomes more dire.

The most recent is now my uncle (my mother's brother in law). My mother called to give me an update on his condition, because well, to be honest he hasn't been doing all that great for a number of years, although the doctors have never been able to pinpoint exactly why. So when she said "he's not doing very well," I didn't exactly blink, becuase like I said, it has been a while since he has actually been "well." But then she hit me with 2 of those dreaded phrases. Back to Back no less. He is in a medically induced coma, and the next 48 hours are critical. I of course hope he can manage to recover, but am more preparing for the worst.

So what are the other phrases that I could do without?

Inoperable tumor/cancer
Broken Hip (why is it always the hip?)
moved to ICU
"Now don't get upset ..." (anything that starts with that is guaranteed to be upsetting)
nothing they can do
try to make him(her) as comfortable as possible

No matter how good a day you are having. The utterance of one of these phases is guaranteed to kill your mood.

Hello Ms. Sarandon

Hello Ms. Sarandon
Originally uploaded by JayMonster.
I finally got around to adding the photos from LatteGirl and TheWife's trip to Madam Tussard's Wax Museum in NYC into Flickr.

I used to walk by this place everyday on my way to and from work when I was in the City, but never actually went it.

Some of these figures are amazingly lifelike. Others are well... obvious in their waxiness.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Picture Perfect Thursday II

Statue of Liberty
Originally uploaded by JayMonster.

... And Liberty for all

How convenient for me to have practically in my back yard the symbol of Liberty and Freedom. It helps remind me of why I spend too much of my "free" time paying attention and taking action.

(Credit to my wife for getting this excellent snapshot, from a moving ferry on the way to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island this summer.)

I am the son of a a very patriotic man. A man that forever held the spirit of freedom and respect for this country near and dear to his heart. While some of that certainly rubbed off on me, it was not until my daughter was born, that I decided that change didn't start by saying, "What are you gonna do?" or "That is just the way it goes."

It was in those days that I learned to understand the saying, "Freedom is not free." That in order to keep this country right, it takes the work of the people. It takes each and everyone of us to hold accountable those that would be our leaders for their actions. It is up to us to demand that which is right. We can not just expect it, we can not just shrug our shoulders and say, "oh well" when things are not going right.

No doubt, things have gone terribly wrong. In many ways. But so long as this country still stands it is not too late. When my time is done, I want the world to be a better place than the condition that I found it. The only way to do that is to participate in that change wherever possible. Which means litterally anywhere, not just in Washington DC but in the city that I live, the neighborhood that I call home. It is getting out to vote in elections. It is paying attention to what is going on in my town and school systems, and being ready to challenge when things go off course.

It is not what I would like to do with my time. But if I want this world to be a better place for my daughter and other children in the years to come, it is something I do not believe I (or any person) can afford NOT to do.

(Why is this called "Picture Perfect Thursday"? Well you have to go visit Liz over at This Full House for more details. If you do join in, please let me know)

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Back to School?

OK, so I am not really going back to school, but it sure as heck seems like it.

Back to school night just took place at LatteGirl's school, and really what it boiled down to was letting parents know what was expected of THEM for the upcoming school year.

Now, I am all for pushing students at a young age when their little brains are like sponges and can absorb so much, but honestly do these teachers believe that you (or your child) has absolutely nothing else to do on any given evening than to just dedicate the entire evening to homework?

I am not anti-homework (Did I really just say that? My mother would faint!), but they can really go overboard, and we are in week 2. I am seriously afraid of what is coming down the road.

To those of you that have 2 or more. I bow down to you. I can hardly keep up with one, I can't imagine having to corral and work with more than one on any given evening.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

The Visit

Last week, the mother of a friend of TheWife passed away. As she prepared to go to the wake that evening, LatteGirl in her usual inquisitive manner asked where she was going. TheWife explained the situation. LatteGirl showed empathy in expressing how sad that was. That empathy brought her to a decision... she wanted to go "visit" Poppie.

We pondered it for a bit, and decided that there should be no major psychological harm and decided to take her to the mausoleum, still quite sure how she would react.

It was, in a word... interesting. As we walked up to the location, at first she put her hand on the marble stone, waited a beat and then asked, "Poppie's IN there?" I replied "Yes." "Can I see him?" Oh boy. Here we go. "Um... no honey" "But why not?" How do you explain a 2 year old rotting corpse to a 6 year old in a way won't bring on months of nightmares. TheWife and I managed to wiggle around it as best we could until either she was satisfied with the answer... or she just decided we were idiots that wouldn't give her a straight answer. Either way... She stopped.

She sort of hung on the stone, keeping her hand on his name, and every so often expressing how much she missed him. But in general her spirits were OK, and she found some diversions in noticing what other people had on their markers, pictures, emblems etc. Everything was good until we said it was time to go. She did not want to leave. So the haggling began. She started off with "Can we come every day?", to which I countered with the non-specific, "We can come every so often." She retorted with, "Fine. How is every week?" We settled on once a month, "for now" to be reconsidered later.

That satisfied her (for the time being), we said good-bye to Poppie... until October.

I still can't believe how well she handles herself with this at 6 year old. She never fails to impress me.

Monday, September 18, 2006

I must have Alzheimer's

There are certain things in my life that lead me to believe that I have some sort of bizarre early onset type of Alzheimer's. This weekend one of those things came up. A yard sale.

It has been a while since we have actually done one. And they say that "time heals all wounds," so I guess that could also be a reason that having a yard sale once again sounded like a good idea, but once the day came, I remembered why we stopped having garage sales.

Now, we didn't have a whole heck of a lot to sell to begin with, short of the toys that LatteGirl was finally ready to part with when the concept of "turning them into cash" made her "realize" that she doesn't play with them any longer.

We had a few large items, like LatteGirls toddler bed (that she NEVER slept in) as well, but by and large, over the years, anything that could be sold for any real cash value that we no longer wanted, TheWife put up for sale on eBay. But my women wanted to do this.
So the day came, I brought out everything as TheWife had to take LatteGirl to dance class.

Self-Reminder One: "Early Birds" will show up a full two hours before the stated time of the sale. Do not be shocked when you find one (or two) camped out on your lawn waiting for you.

Self Reminder Two: It is an awful lot of work pulling all the old junk out and putting it on display. It will inevitably take you longer than anticipated. Especially when you are beeing watched over by the "Early Birds" that wind up slowing you down.

Once the early birds leave, you usually have enough time to get yourself together, maybe even slugging down a cup of coffee before the next batch of merry shoppers comes along.

Self Reminder Three: Nobody want to pay for anything at a garage sale. Always ask for a bit more because no matter how much you ask for something, they will want it for less.

Look, I'm not fooling myself. I understand this is the "junk" that I (mostly) don't want, and I am not expecting "retail" or even "fair value" for this stuff, but come on folks let us get real for a minute. For example. For Christmas LatteGirl got the V.Tech V.Smile System, and we purchased a couple of extra games for it. As it turned out, she did not like it very much, and we instead replaced it with the LeapFrog Leapster which she enjoyed a lot more. So the game unit had been taken out of the box a grand total of once. Everything including all manuals and registration cards were in the box, along with two additional games. Now I didn't expect to get anything close to full value. Hell, I didn't expect to get half of it. But I didn't think $10 was too much to ask. I would have taken a couple of dollars less even, just so I didn't have to cart it back in the house and store it again. But when people start offering $1 for it, now I am nothing short of annoyed.

Look, I know there are plenty of people out there these days, either looking to get something for nothing, or trying to find gems themselves that they think they can resell on eBay. I don't begrudge that. But let us get real. $1? C'mon will you?

We had children's book. All in good shape (read: look like new or were new). Asking price? A quarter. Lady walks up and tells me how "outrageouos" that price is and offers me ten cents a piece. I think some of these people really need to get a grip.

The biggest sucess of the day LatteGirl selling Lemonade for charity. Rather than buying her a the Lemonade stand that she wanted, TheWife found something through some organization that would give you a lemonade stand if the proceeds went to charity. So LatteGirl spent the afternoon hawking Lemonade for Second Harvest. And even with that we got a couple of comments that a lemonade stand should't have the "audacity" to charge a whole quarter for a (16 oz) glass of lemonade, and should be charging no more than a nickel.

My wife complains that I live "in the past" plenty of times, but at least I am stuck in the 80's. Some of these people still must think it is 1955.

When all was said and done, LatteGirl raised about $20 for Second Harvest. She made $28 on the sale of her books and toys (which we told her would go to her bank), and TheWife and I cleared around $30. Figuring there was three of us working for 7 hours we earned (not counting the money going to charity) about $2.76/hour each. Suddenly that job a Wal-Mart sounds like big bucks in comparison.

But come next spring (I have already been informed that we will be doing this again in the spring), I like an Alzheimer's patient, will probably again think "A yard sale. What a great idea"

Friday, September 15, 2006

Picture Perfect Thursday (a day late)

The Falls
Originally uploaded by JayMonster.
This is the "main falls" at Buskill Falls in PA. As I mentioned with the vacation recap, we decided to visit here and take a hike along the trails before heading home from PA.

After beating myself up for a week playing volleyball, softball, swimming and more, the last thing I was looking forward to was hiking along some trails, but the wife and child were adamant and off we went.

As we looked out on this somewhat foggy morning and looked at the falls, the sense of tranquility that overcame all of us (yes, surprisingly me too) was quite palpable.

By the time we ended the trail, even I with sore legs, didn't want to leave.

(Why is this called "Picture Perfect Thursday"? Well you have to go visit Liz over at This Full House for more details. If you do join in, please let me know)

The Couch Potato Bets

The Losers

'Til Death - Fox tries to pull out another "Married with Children"-esque clone with this series. Fox was able to get away with nurturing an audience for "Married..." because, well lets be honest, it along with "The Simpsons" was all it had at the time, so poor reviews be damned they promoted it and prmoted it until they had a following. Not sure Fox is that kind of station any longer. The show has a good cast, and the potential is there, but I have a feeling people will stay away... and the show will get canned before it can draw 'cult' status.

Happy Hour - 'Friends' go to 'Cheers' or maybe some sort of twisted 'Friends' vs. 'Cheers' (think videogame mashup). Regardless, it stinks the critics hate it, it has no real show around to support it. Dead, Dead Dead. And seems to deserve it.

Men in Trees - I like Ann Heche. Really. And it is because of that, I find myself wondering... "Why Anne, Why?" This show is gone by Christmas if not sooner. Nothing else really needs to be said.

Vanished, Runaway and Kidnapped - I put these threee shows together to avoid repeating myself. We already have Cold Case and Without a Trace, does every station need to try and come up with a "version" of it now? Certainly not all of these can survive. Cold Case and Without a Trace have set a fairly high bar, and from what I have read, I will be surprised if even one of these is still on the air come springtime.

Winners that shouldn't be

Survivor - Why won't this show die? Much is being made about the "tribes" being split along racial lines. "How could they?" the reviewers are crying. Brilliant move. It got people talking (and writing) about it for weeks leading up to the premier. People will watch... though I personally don't understand why.

Jericho - Think 'Lost' in Colorado. The few reviews I saw were good, but I generally dislike shows that rip-off their idea from another and this one is certainly nothing but a rip-off from 'Lost' It will probably survive the season though.

Dancing with the Stars - Why does anybody watch this?

On the Fence

Lost - I admit it. I am the one person in America that did not watch Lost. Not one single episode. But like Desperate Housewives (though not quite as much), lost a bit of its lustre and shine during season two, something I like to call the "Twin Peaks Effect." When a show comes off a huge as Lost did it is hard to keep up that pace and expectation level. It will be interesting to see if Lost can hold on.

Desperate Housewives - I already mentioned this, but after a HUGE first season, it was shocking (and somewhat surprising) to see this show fall so far, so hard, so fast. If this show doesn't start off with a bang, it could be all over.

CSI: Crime Scene Investigators - This is my favorite show on television. I am sure it will survive at the very least this season. But after seven season, I have to wonder how much is left in the tank. Plus at the end of the season they gave the appearance that Grisom and Sidle have gotten together. When two characters who's attraction and inability is part of the show finally get together it usually marks, if not the end... the beginning of the end.

Ugly Betty - The premise is week, but critics like it and the few people I have spoken to (or read) seem to like it so it may make it. Is it enough for a series though? Sounds more like a Lifetime, made for TV movie.

The Surefire Winners

The Wire - everybody has declared this show a hit and the single best thing on TV this season. Far too many rave reviews for this show to fail. Even if it sucks, people will pretend to like it because they will feel like they are missing something or just don't get it yet.

30 Rock - I intially thought of this as just another Suddenly Susan or Newsradio. But the feedback has been spectaular so far, and looks like this one is the real deal.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Place your bets

It is that time year again. One that I used to look forward to desperately in an attempt to get away from summer reruns, but now which only entertains me really in trying to guess which shows will make it and which ones will not based on what I read.

Why based on what I read? Because while I am horribly picky and judgemental when it comes to what I watch on TV because honestly I am down to about 3 hours a week that does not involve The Disney Channel, Boomerang (part of Cartoon Network) or similar. I have, and will until the final show airs locked in one of those hours for CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. That leaves me with about two hours remaining. And what I "waste" that two hours is a "critical" choice.

Now as I said, I am awfully picky to begin with, but it seems that most of the viewing world is NOT. Sure... even the hardest of the hardcore reality fans managed to stay away virtually completely from the incredibly dumb Apprentice: Martha Stewart, but somehow crud like Survivor have continued on. Why? I have no idea. (Disclosure: I worked at a web design company and the original Survivor Web Site, so my bitterness could be slightly tainted by that experience. I don't think so, but... full disclosure). The show to me was a one hit wonder. Especially when it became clear that "Reality" was far more scripted than CBS let on during that first season. But the lemmings continue to tune in faithfully.

So what I was really getting at is that I by myself am not a good judge of what will survive and what will live on. Last season for example, I would have been certain that Dancing with the Stars, along with the scandal ridden American Idol would have folded up shop and gone home. But no, not only did they survive... they are back. Desperate Housewives which after an initial blockbuster season floundered horribly last year. My guess is that this is the "rubber season" for that show, it either needs to bounce back now... or be designated to scrap heap. If it starts out flat (again) it may not even make it through the season (or so I am thinking).

So, what are you looking forward to? Dreading? What makes it? What gets replaced early like last years bomb, Commander-In-Cheif and what is the surprise hit (My name is Earl)? And what makes one stick and the other stink?

Tomorrow I will post my picks and pans for the new season.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

The Future Bride

Future Bride
Originally uploaded by JayMonster.
Finally got a chance to update and upload some pictures onto Flickr.

The one you see here was taken by TheWife one afternoon. LatteGirl went with her for her hair appointment and decided she wanted to get her hair done too (for no particular reason other than to get it done).

When they came back home, TheWife got her to put on her white Princess Nightgown, and took these photos. Do they look as much like a series of Wedding Photos to you (click on the image to see the others of course), as they do to me? Or is it just me having a case of Daddy Anxiety looking at his little girl growing up?

Monday, September 11, 2006


It is now officially 5 years since the horrific events of September 11th. A day that affected so many people in so many ways, and we will never be the same again. But in the time that has past since then we have seen and been infiltrated by terrorists in ways we could never have conceived even in those dark hours five years ago.

One terrorist continues to taunt us from afar. Mocking the "Dead or Alive" comments made by our Commander in Cheif, he continues to be a threat, just by his mere existance. This is not however shocking or news to anybody.

No, the shocking part is derived from the enemy within. Those that have seized on these horrible events to own them, to justify their own agendas. To start wars laying claims to links to al-qaida, then backing off saying that wasn't the case. Weapons of Mass Destruction that certainly existed... and then did not. Quoting words of the terrorists in national speeches, and for all intents and purposes, making them the terrorists, spreading fear to gain their political goals. They have become the exact terrorists we claim to be at war with.

In the days and weeks (and even months) after the attacks, the message was clear. We must move on with our lives, we must continue to act the same way we did before. We must go shopping, and not allow the economy to suffocate under fear. "Otherwise... The terrorists have won." But then something changed. The message we were getting was different. The message became "Be Afraid, Be very afraid" and "be afraid or the terrorists win."

In feeding this fear, and telling us every single day how the terrorists are out there ready to strike the momment that George W. Bush doesn't get exactly what he (and his administration) wants, we will be "giving comfort to the terrorists" and they will pounce upon us and kill us all, this administration has in reality become a terrorist organization itself. It thrives on that fear, relies on it, and uses it at every opportunity.

Now, to be fair, I asked myself the question, "Is there any guarantee that if the Democratic Party was in complete power as the GOP currently is, would things be completely different?" The answer... the honest answer is, "I don't know" The Democrats may very well have seized on the opportunity if they had it, to to be known as the "Security Party" so this is not purely a GOP vs Democrat argument. What is however irrefutable is that the current White House administration has used this opportunity to far greater damage.

The staring of a war we had no business starting, losing more American lives than on September 11th, the unbridled stomping on the 1st admendment in the name of National Security. The simply ignoring of checks and balances in power. The unprecedented "Power Grab" taken by the White House. And all the while, anybody that stood in their way was branded a "terrorist sympathiser" or "soft on terror" when in reality they were simply fighting the terrorist that resides at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Five years later it is time to just stop. Stop letting the war mongers and fear spreaders to continue to whittle away at our lives, our liberties, our freedoms, and time to take it back for ourselves. It is time we moved on and continued to live. We owe it to all of those that were not as fortunate as the rest of us five years ago.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Latte Man Special Saturday Edition

Special? Not really, other than it is an odd thing for me to be blogging on a Saturday. You know, the week worth of "Honey-dos" has built up, of course LatteGirl wants to spend time with me as much as I do with her. And all those little life things that get pushed to the weekends because work seems to consume more and more of the weekday that I care to admit.

This weekend however, LatteGirl and TheWife are up at SesamePlace, leaving me to accomplish the needed tasks at home. But it also allows that when I do take a break, I am for a change afforded the opportunity to blog.

I should of course be getting the pictures we took from the falls and vacation up into Flickr. Perhaps during the next break I will do that. (Procrastination is an art form... don't let anybody tell you any different).

Time alone is sometimes good, and I got quite a bit accomplished today, but I must admit, I am feeling quite lonely, and I can't wait until they get home.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Fickle Friday

Well, the weekend is upon us and I am feeling... completely ambivelant.

Got a friend coming over to visit with her kids this evening. Yay!

LatteGirl and TheWife are gone for the Weekend. Boo!

LatteGirl and TheWife are gone for the Weekend. Yay!

TheWife left me a list a chores to accomplish while she is gone. Boo.

But the list is not long. Yay!

But I also need to go to client Number 1 and get some work done. Boo!

That means extra money next month. Yay!

It will probably only wind up going towards paying for LatteGirl's school Boo!

But LatteGirl loves the new school so far. Yay!

However it only took her 1 day to get in trouble for talking to her friend and got her seat moved. Boo!

Alright enough of that already.

Been living with the Skype phone for about a week now (Since My Big Fat Geek Weekend), and I have to tell you, it is pretty nifty. I invested the $38 US (approximate it is 30 Euros) for a year of having a separate phone number. I plan on using it for Clients and such, to help keep them off of my home phone.

Along this same vane, does everybody these days have way too many IM clients? I have people on Yahoo!Messenger, MSn Messenger, AIM (mostly work people), I haven't downloaded GoogleTalk yet, but have chatted with a few people threw the Chat interface built into GMail. I am sooooo glad that XP has that collapsable System Tray. On my Windows 2000 system, more space was dedicated to the System Tray than to the Taskbar section. I thought about trying one of the programs like Trillian that combines them, but I really don't like that idea either. Maybe someday we can have a single open standard. (Yeah Right).

Oh well, hope everyone has a great weekend.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Just Like Starting Over

Another school year begins. For us, and more so for LatteGirl it is yet another beginning. Two years ago, she started the last of her Pre-K classes. Last year Kindergarten, new school new friends, etc. and this year with the transition to private school she gets another new start. She will have the benefit of having two friends from her old Pre-School and a friend she made this summer at camp in her class, so it may not be quite as daunting in some ways as Kindergaten where she had no carry-over. The classes are smaller which of course it also a nice thing.

She has held a pretty brave front, even singing and dancing about going to her new school. But last night, as we prepared for bed, she let it slip out. She was excited... but also a bit nervous. "Not scared" just a little nervous. Fortunately it is only a 1/2 day today and tomorrow, so I am sure she will transition in quite fine.

Still getting caught up

I feel like I have been perpetually behind since returning from vacation. Of course that has been helped along with the school change, the job location change, Ernesto knocking out power all over the eastern seaboard (despite not being a huge storm), etc. So if you haven't seen me around your blog lately, just know I am slowly catching up.

As pathetic as it may sound, I am so looking forward to my bowling season starting on Thursday. I probably would have been better off if it started in a week or two since I have been going at such a hectic pace. But then again, that may be exactly WHY it is good that it is starting tomorrow. It is my opportunity to focus a least a couple of hours on something enjoyable and take my mind off of family issues and/or work issues. No it is not the nightlife and fun I used to enjoy years ago. Then again, I do not recover nearly as quick as I did years ago, and the thought of going to work on an hour sleep (or less) is no longer something I can handle or even consider.

Some Unrequitted Link Love

Two things that I have caught up on and wanted to share. Cat has moved out of her "swamp" life, and now you can just call it Cat's Life. So update your Blogroll if you haven't already, or stop by and check her out.

The other blog, is one I have just added to my blogroll, even though I have been reading it for some time. Of course everybody in the free world knows about and reads Busy Mom. But what you may not know about is her OTHER blog, GenBetween. Having to deal with the tribulations of handling both kids and parents can be a daunting task, and if you are in that situation, I am sure you will be able to quite easily identify with this as Busy Mom gives herself to us as a "poster child" of the Sandwich Generation.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

My Big Fat Geek Weekend

Around these parts Ernesto was a big fat nothing other than some annoying rain, so not only did we not get water in the basement, I was actually able to get some additional waterproofing done.

We did have some family over Saturday, and some friends Sunday for end of the summer bar-b-ques which is always fun, although I still swear this summer went by WAY too fast for me. We had all sorts of plans for weekend trips and such, and now the time has already gone right by me.

LatteGirl starts her new school on Wednesday. Talk about easing into it, she has half days Wednesday and Thursday, the her and Mom will be heading off to Sesame Place for the weekend before she starts her full day sessions next Monday.

I am starting at my new client's today, so in between the bar-b-ques and waterproofing, I had to wipe clean and reformat my laptop. (Warning: if you are not the intensely geeky type, you may wish to skip the remainder of this paragraph). After being forced by my last client to remain on Windows 2000, I finally got to bring it up to Windows XP. Since I was feeling particularly geeky, I also dual-booted it with Linux (I went with OpenSuse for now, but that will probably change... at least once or twice). Then to top off my geekfest, I went and picked up the Linksys VOIP phone for Skype.

Too much food, too much drinking, and too many new toys (according to my wife). Eveything to make for a perfect three day weekend. Hope everybody had a good weekend. So are you ready for fall?

Friday, September 01, 2006

I guess I should have listened

TheWife has been on me since spring to waterproof the basement. It is not like I have been neglecting it. Our basement is quite packed, and getting to the walls in each section is a project in and of itself.

So, I have been working on it, but it is far from done. Now of course, here comes Ernesto. Certainly not a huge deal as it is already nothing but a Tropical Storm and will likely be nothing more than a tropical depression (or less) by the time it reaches this area, but with the promise of between 2 and 6 inches of rain (could they be any more vague), I will certainly not hear the end of it if we start to take on some water.

Overall I am quite lucky. We live on the top of a hill, in an area that is at virtually zero risk of flooding. But water damage is water damage. Especially when your wife has been harping on you to get this project done all year.

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