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“[The Boy], your mom has bionic ears!”

Friday, June 13th, 2008

Of course, the fact that the roar coming from The Boy’s room is approximately 120 dB probably has something to do with it…

Note to self: 5 8-year-old boys for a sleepover is probably two too many…

[Update @ 10:15PM PDT – the room appears to be quiet… Hopefully they’re actually getting some sleep.]

[Update @ 14 June 2008 6:59AM – …and they’ve been up for half an hour already. That covers some values of ‘some,’ I suppose.]

“What toy is that?”

Sunday, June 8th, 2008

“Take it away from him! That noise! It’s driving me insane!”

So saith The Boy, in reference to a squeaky toy being savaged by one of the terriers.

I find this a.) ironic and b.) amusing to a degree that probably borders on unhealthy.

Further vignettes from The Annals of Bad Parenting

Saturday, June 7th, 2008

I totally spaced on the fact that The Boy was supposed to go to a birthday party this afternoon. It was for one of his best friends, and we’d RSVP’d with a firm ‘Yes.’ Oy. I feel terrible.

I don’t feel omigod-I-just-ran-over-the-neighbor’s-cat terrible, but still… terrible nonetheless.

“Dad, when are you going to the hardware store?”

Friday, June 6th, 2008

Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought this was a question to fear. And yet…

“Why?”
“I need four springs.”
[internal sigh] “Eat your breakfast.”
“But I’m going to…”
“After breakfast.”

[10 minutes later]

“Dad, I need four…”
“Are you done with your breakfast?”
“Yes.”
“What do you need four springs for?”
“Well… If I can get all the materials, I think I can build a fold-away hang glider.”

Did he say…? He did.

“How big are you planning on making this… hang glider.”

I’m guessing kite-sized. As he mentally figures out the dimensions, I can see him measuring with his arms. That’s right; it’s going to be wider than his arms’ reach. Can you say Hell, no?

“Is it going to be big enough for you to ride?”

Silence.

“And how are you going to test this?”
“It won’t be very high.”
“No.”
“Da-ad!”
[louder] “No.”
“Wh-yy?”
“It’s not safe.”
“But I won’t be that far off the ground.”
“I said no.”
Fine.”

A hang glider. Sweet Jesus Haploid Christ, a full-sized (folding!) hang glider.

“Dad?”
“Yes?”
“Forget the springs. I need some plaster and some cloth.”

[sigh] I don’t even want to know. I suspect it’s going to be a long summer…

It’s bacon! Wrapped in Depends®!

Thursday, May 29th, 2008

Mmmmm... Bacon... /homer

Oh, wait… My bad. It’s just bacon…

Bacon… in a can! duhn-duhn-duhn-DUHN!!!! /movie_guy

Propriety demands that I thank John Scalzi for the link, but I’m going to send him my therapy bills instead.

He mocks me!

Saturday, May 24th, 2008

This was The Boy’s (fairly indignant) description of how Small Dog* plays fetch.

He mocks me… Heh.

*Ever play fetch with a Rat Terrier? Mock isn’t quite the right word, but it’ll do.

(We currently have 3 dogs: Big Dog (a gracefully-aging Black Lab/Pit Bull cross), Small Dog, and Little Dog Z. The latter 2 are American Hairless Terriers – think standard Rat Terriers, minus the hair. Z is a recent addition to our household, and is still a puppy. Even as a puppy, he’s about 50% larger than Small Dog, so he really fscked up the (nick-)naming convention…)

Learning by the ‘oh, shit!’ method

Sunday, May 11th, 2008

So there I am, driving down the road, munching on a total impulse purchase of Japanese rice crackers, minding my own business, when all of a sudden an ill-chosen handful of crackers teaches me a most valuable lesson: when those wacky Japanese a.) make rice crackers that look like grilled squid and b.) put a big old cartoony fish on the package, guess what? They aren’t being cute – the crackers really are made with fish.

Puts a whole new spin on goldfish crackers, doesn’t it?

(If I’d been paying closer attention, I would have noticed that the package not only bore the mark of the Grinning-Madly-Because-I-Make-Gaijin-Vomit fish, but a shrimp and a squid as well. The shrimp looked about as realistic as anything printed on Japanese snack food packaging can look; the squid, on the other hand, had Hello Kitty eyes and was waving a fan. I’m pretty sure that the Sanrio squid would have been all the Hell No! warning I needed had I noticed it in time. Oh well. Live and learn.)

Vignettes from The Annals of Bad Parenting

Monday, April 28th, 2008

Upon waking The Boy this morning, I was greeted by an unnaturally spiky cockscomb of Boy hair. This was no mere bed-head; no, this spoke of deeper horrors…

I had no idea when this child last bathed.

In which I mess with The Boy

Thursday, April 17th, 2008

So The Boy’s math classes are covering multiplication these days – it looks like right now they’re doing up to multiples of 12 (Algorithmic math! Finally!). We’ve been trying to convey the importance of memorizing basic math facts, and I’m glad he’s starting to get that, both conceptually and from the instruction.

At any rate, tonight’s homework involved flashcards covering the multiples of 2, 3 & 4 from 1 to 12. We started with the 2s, and he started ripping through them: 2, 4, 6, 8…

[sound of needle across record]

Wait a minute. No, no, no, no… This won’t do; it’s way too fast. He’s memorized the sequence.

So I shuffled the cards…

I got an eye-roll.

Me: “So… Am I wrong? You’ve got these memorized, right?”

The Boy: (sigh) “Yes.”

Me: “Then you won’t have any problem if I move around the order, right?”

The Boy: (sigh-eye-roll-double-Immelman combination – even the Romanian judge is impressed.) “No.”

Me: “Good – that’s what I thought. What’s 2 x 9?”

The Boy: (sigh) “18”

Me: “Good.”

And so it went… It took a lot longer this way, but I smelled a growth opportunity!

And much growth was enjoyed by all.

This is not a new post

Tuesday, April 15th, 2008

So y’all might have read something ’bout the Dalai Lama being in Seattle… I’ve got some thoughts about him and Tibet, but haven’t really had time to collect them into anything coherent, so you’ll just have to wait.

I did decide however. that tempting it might be, “Sweet Jesus Tap-dancing Christ, do I hate the Dalai Lama” was right out as a title…

I’m in the wrong field…

Wednesday, April 9th, 2008

Our articles never have titles like “The spiny genitals and rock-chewing habits of crested porcupines.”

Of course, I’d chew rocks too if I was on the receiving end of spiny genitals…

I know that I have one reader…

Sunday, March 9th, 2008

…who (should be? will be?) at least mildly amused that this past Friday was Kill Jack Haringa Day.

To the rest of you who have no idea what I’m talking about, you have my most sincere apologies…

Danger, Will Robinson, danger! [with updates…]

Saturday, March 8th, 2008

The Boy has been invited to a birthday party tomorrow.

A girl’s birthday party. A gift-related brainstorming session ensues:

So – what does she like to do?

“I really couldn’t tell you.”

What kinds of books does she like to read?

“I have no idea.”

What sorts of games does she play on the playground?

“I can’t say that I’ve really noticed.”

Whoops.

There are some additional bits and pieces of information that make this funnier (for lack of a better term): she was one of the only girls to give him a Valentine (and a handmade one at that), and The Boy had remarked at one point at how surprised he was by how nicely she had complimented him as part of a class exercise. It’ll be interesting to see how many kids have been invited to this party, and how many of them are boys.

And he barely notices that she has a pulse… Ah, 2nd grade.

[update: it looked like an ‘invite everyone’ party, even if the gender ratio was heavily skewed towards girls… *whew* ]

[update the second: I misjudged it entirely… There was only one other boy invited. Damn.]

AFGO* completed

Friday, February 15th, 2008

We just wrapped up a big ol’ project at work this week. In the end, it was a classic software development final push, complete with pizza at the office, and hallucinations from sleep deprivation.

Ah, good times.

We were only 1.5 months late, which for custom, one-off software is pretty good. IMO, it’s even better considering that it involved my learning a new programming language along with an utterly unfamiliar API. Oh yeah, there was that whole “write once, compile and test everywhere” cross-platform thing going on too… Still, despite the grotesquerie of the last week or so, it was still a lot of fun.

On a totally unrelated note, I will be entirely without internet access for the next 10 days or so. If your comments go into moderation, they’re going to stay there until I get back. On the bright side, during those 10 days, I should be able to maintain my current pace of posting. You won’t even notice.

*Another Fscking Growth Opportunity

All phở one…

Thursday, January 31st, 2008

It’s been stupefyingly cold here for what seems like weeks now, I’ve been totally maxed out at work, and, as a final injustice, I’ve gotten sick twice within a span of three weeks. Bleh.

Of course, all of which means it must be time for comfort food, right? In this case, phở. Yes, those funny accent marks mean it’s pronounced more like ‘fuh’ than ‘foe,’ but you knew that already, didn’t you?

I used this recipe, and damn if it wasn’t delicious. I tweaked the recipe somewhat – I used about 1T of canola oil when roasting the meat and spices instead of the recommended 2 ounces of lard, and I wound up using a lot of meat with bones when making the broth: meaty soup bones, a hunk of beef shank on the bone, and bone-in beef short ribs. I let the broth sit in the fridge overnight, and because of all the bones it came out like cinnamon-and-anise scented beef Jell-O. Yum. Yes, the process is kind of a pain in the ass, but still – for results like these, it is totally worth it. The only change I’d make would be to use an actual roasting pan – I roasted everything in the same Dutch oven that I made the actual stock in, so I didn’t caramelize the onion and ginger as much as I would have liked. Still, it makes for a fine, fine stock indeed.

I found fresh phở noodles (less soaking time than dried rice sticks), and we served it with diced shallots, sliced Thai bird peppers (woo! hot!), bean sprouts, lime wedges, hoisin sauce, cilantro & mint. Somehow my Thai basil didn’t make it into my shopping basket (that, or I’ll find it decaying in the back of the fridge in a couple of weeks), but we really didn’t miss it.

Two thumbs up. We’ll definitely be making this again.

[edited to add: I must clarify that ‘stupefyingly cold’ in Seattle would pass for ‘pleasant harbinger of Spring’ any other place I’ve ever lived. Here, however, it’s ‘depths of bleakest winter.’ Go figure.]