Archive for November, 2007

Out To The Black

November 29, 2007

No more blogging for a while. Kerry and I are leaving this morning, headed eventually for the Browncoat Cruise.

Internet access on board the ship is something outrageous like 75 cents a minute, and in addition to being a CrankyBeach, I am a cheapskate son-of-a-CrankyBeach so I will not be online.

Later, folks.


She Probably Won’t Mind…

November 27, 2007

… since she has it posted on her own blog already.

Here are V.’s husband and son (the young sailor I fed and entertained for a while last Friday). “Dad” promised if “son” successfully finished boot camp, he would attend graduation in full uniform. So here they are–the two sailors.

Entertaining Moments…

November 25, 2007

While chatting with the young sailor the other day, I mentioned that it would not surprise me if his mother V., if she lost control of her temper, could very well erupt into some “language.”

Sailor’s reply: “Not so much anymore. But I did learn several words inappropriate for a three-year-old.”

Yep. He’s just as entertaining as his parents are. Look out, world.

Always Wanted To Do That…

November 23, 2007

… pull over to the curb, roll down the window and say, “Hey, sailor!”

No, really. You frequent and long-time readers will remember my dear friend V. from Ohio who came to stay with me about a year and a half ago. Well… her number one son is now 19 years old, in the Navy, and studying Arabic here in town at the Defense Language Institute.

I picked him up at noon, took him to lunch, and then we just drove around doing a little sightseeing, quoting Firefly, Serenity, Harry Potter and Monty Python at each other. I hadn’t seen him in at least 8 years. Back then he was hyperactive and, his mother told me, bored out of his gourd in school. I can see why. The kid is a freaking genius, with a totally photographic memory. His mind moves on planes inaccessible to most people. Hey, I’m not exactly dumb myself, but he left me far, far behind many times as he jumped around in conversation. The interest closest to his heart, he told me, is higher mathematics, but there aren’t too many opportunities in that field in the military, so he’s in Arabic instead. His brain goes at better than warp speed, and probably always has, but now that he’s getting into adulthood, he has found some more interesting ways to channel that energy.

Just one example: Whenever he nearly falls asleep in Arabic classes, his brain conjures up Arabic alphabetic characters hurling Harry Potter-esque curses at each other. Can’t you just picture that?

It will be my job to take him to the airport when he goes home for Christmas in a little under a month, so his mom had given him my phone number. He called me up this morning and asked me if I was bored. I said perhaps I could be persuaded to be bored, what did he have in mind? So we just kind of hung out together all afternoon. Hey, I could have been cleaning house instead.

Just doing my part to support (and feed) the troops.

Small Town

November 19, 2007

For reasons far too boring to explain, I ended up going to lunch today at a restaurant in a part of town I don’t usually frequent.

The hostess and I stared at each other, and then called each other by name. We knew each other way back about 25 years ago, although not well. I’d say we were mere acquaintances among a much larger group of people.

The last time I saw her, her children were mere toddlers. Now she is a grandmother. I told her she looks great (she does) and she dropped her handful of menus, came around the podium and gave me a hug.

As she took us to our table, she asked how I was, and had I ever left the area. I said no, and asked her how she was. She said she’s good, great. She then asked after my sister. I said she’s living alone with her dog, and I’m living alone with my lizards.

She then told me she is living alone too. She instigated the divorce, she’s happy with it, her former husband is remarried and doing well and she is happy for him.

Let’s just say, without going into it, I am not surprised she is divorced. I was aware via the small town gossip channels that the two of them were having “issues.”

I gave her my phone number and e-mail address, and told her to give me a buzz after the holidays, if she’s so inclined. Perhaps we could get together for coffee or something.

I will be very interested to see if I hear from her, and if I do, whether she is willing to dish about what happened. Stay tuned.

See How She Has Grown

November 18, 2007

Here is Firefly, nearly 7 months ago:

And here is my attempt to duplicate her pose from the older photo, today. She of course was not as cooperative as she could have been… but you get the idea.

She has probably at least tripled her body weight in the time between those two pictures. And she is still nowhere near full grown.

Amazing little creatures.

And then there’s The Spook. Last night, he was posing so adorably, with his little fingers wrapped around the plastic plant stem… I could not resist grabbing the camera.

Now Let Me Get This Straight…

November 17, 2007

A friend of mine works for a company that builds computer systems for industrial applications. Let’s call them Company A.

Company Z, a customer, is in an industry that uses highly flammable gas.

One day, while running some sort of a test, the operators of the equipment at Company Z overrode the software, and in doing so, basically blew Company Z sky high. Fortunately, no one was killed.

Damage was in the millions. The insurance company paid off, and Company Z reopened for business several months later.

Now the insurance company for Company Z is suing Company A, on the grounds that their software should have been even more idiot-proof than it was.

The way I see it, this is roughly the equivalent of me suing Bill Gates and Microsoft because I lost my document, having ignored all of the offers to save the document before I shut down the word processor.

National Novel Writing Month

November 15, 2007

I am participating in NaNoWriMo for the third year in a row

And right now I am 29,000 words into it, without even a hint of a plot rearing its head.

I am just wondering whether I can cough up 21,000 more words, and whether somewhere, somehow, I will acquire a plot.

Just in case y’all were wondering where I was. I’m writing a novel. Or trying to. If it’s not a novel, it’s a gawsh-awful long writing exercise.

What Is It With Some People?

November 6, 2007

My next door neighbor was evicted. It sure is quiet around here. The new tenant hasn’t moved in yet.

Yesterday the landlord buttonholed me and started talking. I had a hot pizza box in my hands and I was mighty hungry; but I humored him. He talked about the new roof and the new windows, and then talked about how hard they had tried to work with the lady they finally had to evict. She was their tenant for a total of six years, the first part in one of their other buildings, in a two-bedroom that she apparently could not afford. They moved her to the more affordable one-bedroom next to me a couple of years ago, which rents actually toward the bottom end of the going rate for a one-bedroom in this town.

Even after downsizing, she was consistently late with the rent, making excuse after excuse (she didn’t get paid on time, yadda yadda) and when she wasn’t late, her checks often bounced. Yet she drives a very nice vehicle, wears expensive clothes, and keeps up her gym membership religiously.

Priorities, people. Priorities. You need a roof over your head to keep your expensive clothes from getting rained on. And even if you have a crappy landlord (which we don’t) you still have to pay on time. My only complaint about my landlord is that he talks too much. But he fixes things that need fixing, unlike what I hear from other renters. So what’s to complain about? Tighten your belt and pay your rent, dang it.


Yet Another Reason

November 5, 2007

Some stories require no commentary. This is one of them.

Can caffeine protect against Alzheimer’s?
By Kathleen Fackelmann, USA TODAY

Connie Lesko’s not looking for the jolt that a cup of hot java offers.

Instead, she’s hoping new research that shows caffeine may protect against Alzheimer’s pans out: The 56-year-old from Wimauma, Fla., has two parents with this incurable disease.

“I’ve never been much of a coffee drinker,” she says. “But now I’m thinking — what the heck — I’ll have a cup.”

Lesko and others are betting on research suggesting that caffeine will offer protection not just against Alzheimer’s, but also against Parkinson’s. Together these degenerative brain diseases affect about 6 million people in the USA. Cases of both diseases are expected to explode in the next few decades.