So Much Stuff I Can't Recall

Wednesday, August 31, 2005


I worked a temp job today. It was supposed to last 'til Friday, but I may have gotten everything done today, 90 minutes before quitting time. We'll find out tomorrow whether "I don't have anything else for him to do." referred only to 3:30-5p today or if in fact I did burn through three days of work in less than one (my taskmaster was out of the office and made the comment by phone). Phew!

(Speaking of being pooped, Phil is also an efficient little guy. The other day he proudly announced: "I'm gonna go poop ... singlehandedly." Things turned out quite well.)

Anyhoo, I'm exhausted. (Speaking of being exhausted, my car's tailpipe ... no, I'm too tired to even come up with a punchline for that.)

Mikesell : 11:01 PM : 2 snarky remarks

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Mini Gawp #1

There were a few places that didn't make my list of ten places that leave me slackjawed. They're pretty cool places, but not exactly awe-inspiring. Here's the first:

Four Corners
There's a map of the United States across the room in my office. From my desk I can pick out the general area of most places I've been. But the point where Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah come together is unmistakeable.

Here's a Google map for the geographcally otherwise-abled.

Mikesell : 9:57 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Monday, August 29, 2005

Still Lookin'

Word this morning is that the company where I was hoping to go in for a second interview has decided to keep looking at other applicants. I'm hopeful that it was the position I wasn't right for and not that I'm not right for the company.

Thanks for your prayers. Even though the outcome wasn't what I had wanted, I trust the prayers weren't in vain. God has something planned; I'll keep praying towards whatever it is.

Mikesell : 11:08 AM : 4 snarky remarks

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Sunday Evening Church

Well, if you missed church again this week (and have already read the Lego Bible), you can still stop in at the Abston Church of Christ (also known as the Lego Church).

Unless I can find somewhere that has Lego-shaped communion wafers, this will likely be the last Lego Sunday for a while.

You should really go to church next Sunday, anyway.

Mikesell : 8:49 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Hot Wheels Report

They've got some new scans over at the South Texas Diecast Collectors website.

My faves:The 2005 Hot Wheels have only just now come in at the Fred Meyers here in Eugene. Wal-Mart's been a little better, but I don't expect to see these any time soon. (I still haven't seen any from my last update ... and I've only seen one of the motorcycles I posted about back in March.)

Mikesell : 10:51 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Friday, August 26, 2005

Making the Mountie Blush

Last month I dug a couple DVDs out of the $5 bin at Fred Meyer. One was the second volume of The Ray Bradbury Theater. The other was the series finale of Due South. I see there are affordable boxed sets at Amazon, but until Christmas rolls around I'll have to get my mountie fix from this disc (and my memories -- favorite recurring lines: "Don't be silly, Ray" and "Thank you kindly").

One problem: when I plug the DVD into my PowerBook, it puts an icon on my desktop identifying the disc as Intimate Nights. I've heard of hiding smut inside something innocent looking, but not the other way round.
RCMP Constable Benton Fraser: If you think I'm embarrassed, you're sorely mistaken.
Chicago PD Detective Ray Vecchio: Oh, yeah, that's why you're turning the color of your uniform.
That Benton....

Apropos of very little, here's another classic exchange:
Vecchio: Ah. here it is. 'Lloyd P. Nash.' You want to know what the 'P' stands for?
Fraser: Is it pertinent?
Vecchio: Not even close.

Mikesell : 10:52 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Too Soon To Tell

I had an job interview at a local publisher this morning for a position in their Sales department doing desktop publishing, graphic design and other enjoyable things. I met with the woman in charge of HR, and we had a very good interview (at least those of us on my side of the table thought so). The VP of Sales was out of the office, so it'll be next week before I can meet with him and conclude the opening salvo of interviews.

It's a job I found out about through a temp agency. Temp to perm, 40 hours per week. Nice office space (don't know yet what my cube would look like, but the ones I saw in the HR area were snazzy).

So ... what's the publishing company? I'm not sure if I should say. Part of it is "fear or jinxing," sure, but part of it is not wanting to get off on a bad foot with either the temp agency or publishing company. Should all this go to plan (my plan, at any rate), I'll be able to tell more next week.

In the meantime, buy a copy of Chris Well's Forgiving Solomon Long. Perhaps you'll be able to glean the information from the book. If not, you'll still enjoy a darn good read.

Mikesell : 9:31 PM : 2 snarky remarks

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

TXPTLMS #10 Yellowstone

Top Ten Places That Leave Me Slackjawed
  1. Yosemite
  2. Whiskeytown Dam
  3. Santa Cruz Giant Redwoods
  4. Disneyland
  5. California Palace of the Legion of Honor
  6. South Dakota During a Thunderstorm
  7. Puget Sound on the Fourth of July
  8. Devils Tower
  9. Chicago
  10. Yellowstone
Number Ten was a toughie. There are still plenty of things that have left me slackjawed during my 36 years. Some of them are not printable in a family blog; so subtract those, and -- yep, I'm still left with more than one thing. Yellowstone bookends the set nicely, so I'll close the list out with that (I have another 5 or so runners up that I'll get to eventually).

By now I'm sure you're sick of hearing about my Road Trip To End All Road Trips (so I won't bother linking to it). Imagine how I felt living it -- if you can call that living. Yellowstone was pretty much the last thing we saw on the trip. I think one or two nights after seeing the park, my dad decided he'd had enough and we drove non-stop through a corner of Idaho, part of Nevada, and home (and there was great rejoicing).

My favorite part of Yellowstone were the mud pots. As with all the geothermal activity in Yellowstone, these are stinky. But they're also incredibly gross (blow air through a straw into a chocolate malt and you'll see what I mean). The geysers were cool, but they didn't top the mud pots.

My main problem with Yellowstone is it's too much of a science lesson. They want you to learn the how and the why of stuff. At Yosemite, sure you can find out about history of the park if you want, but for the most part you're welcome to stand and gawp.

Then again, we went to Yellowstone during the summer. It's probably more incredible in the spring or winter. We'll have to take Phil there in the early spring, when (I'm guessing) the wildflowers are in bloom and the local fauna aren't sleeping away the afternoon heat. Maybe that'll make it a more qualified #10 on the list or even bump it up a spot or two.

Mikesell : 11:39 PM : 0 snarky remarks

So, Do You Sudoku?

It's the hip new game trend that's sweeping the nation. To paraphrase Mugatu: "Sudoku ... so hot right now ... Sudoku."

The rules are simple: Each 3x3 grid (there are a total of 9) must contain the digits 1-9 (once per digit). 1x9 rows and columns must also contain each digit once and only once (corner to corner diagonals are not subject to these rules).

It's just that simple! (or is it?)

When I was in Borders the other day, there were no fewer than three Sudoku books up front on their "hey, look at me" tables (I'm pretty sure some of them were hardcover).

How can you hop on this freight train of a trend as it's heading out of the station, leaving the bandwagon to pick up the johnnycomelatelys? Here are a few sites to get you started.Have fun. (sudoku puzzles are a great way to keep busy waiting in the unemployment line, so if you become obsessed, you'll still have that going for you)

Mikesell : 2:23 PM : 0 snarky remarks

TXPTLMS #9: Chicago

Top Ten Places That Leave Me Slackjawed
  1. Yosemite
  2. Whiskeytown Dam
  3. Santa Cruz Giant Redwoods
  4. Disneyland
  5. California Palace of the Legion of Honor
  6. South Dakota During a Thunderstorm
  7. Puget Sound on the Fourth of July
  8. Devils Tower
  9. Chicago
The band? Nope.

The musical? No way.

The movie made of the musical? Nosireebob.

Chicago is the biggest city* I've been in, so I think it's fair that my jaw dropped a little when I first visited it during the Never-Ending Road Trip.

What was the most amazing thing to a 16-year-old's eyes? Jaywalking. That's right. We were downtown and everyone was just crossing the street wherever and whenever they felt like it. Granted, I'd seen jaywalking before, done it a time or two myownself. But this was on a whole new scale; this was major-league crime going down in broad daylight. Whoa. My kind of town, indeed.

Among the sites we saw that trip were the Museum of Science & Industry, Sears Tower, and Wrigley Field, home of Jake & Elwood Blues.

A few years ago, I went back to Chicago (hmmm, it was pre-Philip, so make that 6 or 7 years ago). The jaywalking was less impressive, but I still liked the city. I made a point of seeking out a deep-dish pie (Gino's East, I believe) and an authentic Chicago Dog (Dina's second-cousin Sara drove me across town in a rainstorm to find her favorite; thanks, Sara, it was worth it!). Dina and I also shopped The Magnificent Mile, moseyed by Second City and rode the el.

I can't say I have a particular urge to go back to Chicago any time soon (I'd love to go see Sara and her husband Carson, but that's to see them; being in Chicago would be incidental). But I don't have avoidance issues, either. I'm not a big city guy; once a decade seems to be sufficient. Still, if my publicist insists on booktour after booktour in the Windy City, I won't complain too loudly. Maybe I'll even stop by and see Jake and Elwood.

*Yes, Los Angeles is bigger, but as a Northern Californian I must refrain from casting any glory on L.A. Disneyland is in Anaheim, so my #4 pick is okey-doke.

Mikesell : 1:48 PM : 3 snarky remarks

Monday, August 22, 2005


I just got a letter in the mail from the fine folks at The Door Magazine saying that my short humor piece, "God's Creation Blog," has been accepted for publication. It ought to be running in the magazine, their bi-weekly newsletter, their website, or some combination of those three in the next 4-5 months (two issues' publication time).

This is the first thing I've submitted for publication that's been accepted.

So yay me! (and thank you God for creating Creation so I could blog on it for You; we should team up more often)

When I hear more about publication dates, I'll let ya know.

<snoopy dance of joy>

Mikesell : 4:49 PM : 7 snarky remarks

TXPTLMS #8: Devils Tower

Top Ten Places That Leave Me Slackjawed
  1. Yosemite
  2. Whiskeytown Dam
  3. Santa Cruz Giant Redwoods
  4. Disneyland
  5. California Palace of the Legion of Honor
  6. South Dakota During a Thunderstorm
  7. Puget Sound on the Fourth of July
  8. Devils Tower
Hey, after a month and a half hiatus, I'm back with another entry on my list of places that leave me slackjawed. Aren't you blessed? You know you are.

I was nine-ish when Close Encounters of the Third Kind came out, so it's little wonder I was amazed to see Devils Tower in person during the See-America Road Trip when I was a teen. As far as iconic landscapes go, except for Yosemite, I can't think of anything as immediately recognizable as the Tower. Sure, I can say Mt. Shasta, Mt. Hood, or Mt. Rainier (that's ruh-NEER, not RAIN-yay, unless you want to mess with a local's head), and you'll picture a snowcapped mountain, but they'll probably all look alike in your head. But Devils Tower ... I'll bet some of you are getting a hankerin' for mashed potatoes right now, just to get your mind to fully process the image. (I suppose if you could grasp the totality of the Grand Canyon, it'd probably beat out the Tower, but I can't do that so it doesn't count.)

If you've ever been on a Universal Studios backlot tour, you've probably been underwhelmed by being on an ex-movie set. Same thing with a DVD documentary showing how the movie world existed solely on soundstage. But being in the presence of Devils Tower, suddenly, you are Richard Dreyfuss (or Melinda "the abducted kid's mom" Dillon, perhaps) ... are those government helicopters I hear whomping away off in the distance?

The overhead view is less impressive, but at least you can see that the mothership isn't still lurking in the vicinity.

This picture makes a great computer wallpaper (desktop background). Just be careful not to get drool on your keyboard.

Mikesell : 2:47 AM : 0 snarky remarks

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Over 50 Countries Served

With the addition of Kuwait and Puerto Rico to the Map o' Visitors, I've now had guests from fifty foreign countries stop by (including the U.S., that's 22% of all the world's nations).

But do they click on the ads? By and large, they do not.


Mikesell : 10:42 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Catch Up On Church

Did you miss church this morning? Can't find your Bible?* Wish God's Word could be made more appealing to today's youth-oriented culture?

Don't worry. Thanks to the internet, scripture is just a click away. Sure, you could go to the Bible Gateway and sample dozens of translations and paraphrases. But for my money (free!), it doesn't get any better than when it's illustrated with Legos.

Behold! The Brick Testament! (thanks digg.com)

[note: some Bible passages are handled with less than total reverence; if you are easily offended, stick with the Bible Gateway and far, far away from the Legofied segments of the Epistles.]

*(check behind the couch)

Mikesell : 7:03 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Redacted Post

[Okay, I just typed in a ranty little post, but it was too darn snarky even by my standards. Here's the only part that was salvageable:]

Mikesell : 1:29 AM : 1 snarky remarks

Friday, August 19, 2005

I've Got A Secret (or do I?)

I went for a job interview today with OfficeTeam for a Marketing Assistant position [I had a link here, but it was time-sensitive]. While I was there, I found out about another job in a different company's Sales/Marketing department [ditto], which, if it's for who I think it's for (OfficeTeam can't reveal their clients ahead of sending you on an interview), would be an extremely cool beans job to have. I should know by the middle of next week if a) I'm right and 2) I can share the news.

In addition to the get-acquainted interview, I took a series of computer aptitude tests. They were:Somehow, I managed to do the worst at the program I use the most, and scored highest on a program I've used maybe thrice. A lot of the Word questions dealt with features I've never used (generating a table of contents, for instance). If I get a bit more familiar with wacky Excel formulae I can take a test and get MS Certified. Woo-Hoo.

Stay tuned for more news next week (or not). Whatever the case, the interview went quite well and I should be gainfully employed somewhere very soon (yay!).

Mikesell : 9:12 PM : 3 snarky remarks

Catching the Goofs

One of my favorite things about the Internet Movie DataBase is their listing of movie goofs. Like when levels of drinks go up and down in a movie even though no one is drinking or refilling. Or when the hands of a clock radically change positions over the course of a scene. Ninety-nine times out of ten they go unnoticed, at least by me. But lately I've been finding one or two as I watch movies I've seen two or three times already.

For instance, I was watching Pirates of the Caribbean the other day and noticed a section where the scene starts with the camera focused on the moon, then pulls down and across a ship and then ends with the ship sailing away into a lovely horizon with the moon low in the sky. I rewound the DVD watched it again, pondered it a moment and concluded that it was, in fact, a goof. I paused the disc, fired up imdb.com and there it was in their goof section.

Tonight I was watching The Fugitive. Toward the end, there's a scene where Harrison Ford takes an elevator up to the top of the Chicago Hilton. He pushes the top middle button on the elevator panel. The button to the right of it lights up. Sure enough, imdb.com had it listed in with the movie's goofs.

It's not only movies, though, where goofs slip through. There's a bit in James Scott Bell's Circumstantial Evidence, where a character is sitting in a car, smoking. He finishes his smoke, drops the butt on the gravel road and grinds it out with his shoe. Then a couple paragraphs later he opens the door and gets out of the car. How'd he do the part where he extinguishes his smoke?

Usually a movie (or book) draws me in to the point where I'm unaware of the glitches. Even when one pops up into my consciousness, it doesn't detract too much. In fact it usually drives me to pay better attention.

Any memorable mishaps you'd like to share with the group? Post 'em in the comments section.

Mikesell : 12:48 AM : 0 snarky remarks

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Be Ye Worthy or Be Ye Un?

Borders has three coupon offers out there now, but only for select markets. Check the coupon to see if you're a winner.
  1. 25% off one book

  2. 30% off one Paperchase stationery item

  3. Free 12 oz. coffee
Coupons expire August 30.


Mikesell : 1:23 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Vocab Follow-Up

(a follow-up on yesterday's post)

Phil was watching Spongebob this morning when his absorbent, yellow, porous friend used the word "shavings" a half dozen times.

And they say cartoons aren't edjumacational.

Mikesell : 12:43 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

My Little Vocabularist

Today, Phil received a package of school supplies from his Uncle Bill, Aunt Brenda and Cousins Will, Nick & Jack. Along with the colored pencils and junior composition book was his favorite item, a blue pencil sharpener "with two holes!" (can you tell it's his favorite?) After I showed him how to turn the sharpener to sharpen the pencils, he showed me how to open it to "dump out the shavings." I swear I didn't use the word 'shavings' when I was sharpening; somehow he already knew it and knew how to use it correctly.

In other vocabulary news, Phil's very excited about rhyming. He's caught on to the fact that it's then end of words that make the rhyme, not the front ('car' and 'far' rhyme, 'car' and 'carny' do not). He sang a song yesterday that had the refrain "You're so delirious/I'm really serious." It was part of a performance he gave that mostly consisted of jumping from one end of the couch to the other while shouting "rock and roll/rock and roll/rock and roll" and so on.

Can five-year-olds qualify for NEA grants?

Mikesell : 10:52 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Which Is More Worrisome?

Which is more worrisome?
  1. The fact that someone searched MSN for "snap on teeth riverside calif"
  2. or
  3. That I came in 7th in the search
  4. or
  5. The #1 search is titled What Do Teens Want.
I'm worried. I'm very, very worried.

Mikesell : 8:58 PM : 1 snarky remarks

If Flannery Wrote Sequels

I just came across this news item (thanks digg.com). It made me think of the Flannery O'Connor short story, "Good Country People".

Think of it as "GCP II: Hulga's Revenge".

Mikesell : 6:54 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Oh Deer

There's an apple tree growing in our backyard. I don't know what kind of apples they are, other than not-very-good-tasting ones (the tree's grown wild for at least a decade). Nevertheless, the deer like 'em.

Yesterday, a mama and two babies stopped by for an afternoon snack:  1   2

Mikesell : 3:45 PM : 1 snarky remarks

Monday, August 15, 2005

Tres International -- Oooh, La La

Right now almost 30% of my current readership is coming from outside the U.S. According to my stats data, just under 72% of my visitors are U.S.-based, while the remainder are furriners.

Here's the breakdown:

Mikesell : 2:00 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Brady Bunch Moment

Do you remember that episode of The Brady Bunch where little Bobby was moping around about being such a runt? Okay, the one I'm thinking of is the one where Peter and Greg lose something under the van and little Bobby is the only one small enough to reach it. And then he's the big hero until Marsha comes on the story reverts to whatever's going on in her life and Jan "marshamarshamarsha"s and Cindy lisps and we all learn something important about ourselves while Alice serves ice cream.

I learned to keep the wee one handy.

The other day Dina was out of town and asked if we'd turn off the sprinkler if the camp staff forgot. No big, just walk down the trail, through the gate, turn off the spigot. Only problem was, when we got to the gate it had been locked. Fortunately the fence was chain link, so I asked Phil if he could reach through and turn off the faucet. Sure enough, he Bobby Brady'd it like a champ, saving me a hike up the hill in 90+ heat to get the key, then back down, and back up again one last time.

Now, if we could only replace the playing fields, hillsides, and meadows with astroturf ... we'd save so much time currently wasted on mowing and watering and flashing back to Sherwood Schwartz-inspired moments of our youth.

Mikesell : 11:53 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Better Living Through Chemistry

On the way back from town this evening, we stopped by the grocery store to pick up some necessities. Okay, microwave popcorn isn't a necessity like shelter or clothing, but it's slightly less frivolous than the impulse buy I made at the checkstand.

That's right: Wolfgang Puck's self-heating latte.

I was impressed by how geekily cool the thing was (find out more about the tech behind it here). But $2 for a nerdy treat is a bit steep. Fortunately, the coffee was decent (I got the rich caramel flavor).

Living nowhere near decent coffee save what I brew myself, this would be a handy thing for a morning of oversleeping (I can brew a cup o' joe in the 5-8 minutes it takes to heat up the WP cup, but I can't do it in the car) or a roadtrip/camping adventure.

If you have seen these, but haven't bought one because you thought it'd be a nasty, tepid brew, give one a try. The "rich caramel" variety tasted very little like coffee -- more like a General Foods International Coffee drink. I'm thinkin' (hopin') the "espresso" flavor would taste a bit more coffee-ey.

Truly, we live in a golden age. Check it out.

Mikesell : 11:06 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Skewing Older

Dina and I took Phil to see the penguin movie (March of the Penguins) this afternoon. A good film (several sad moments as eggs break/freeze, babies/adults don't outlast the winter or predation), masterfully narrated by Morgan "Easy Reader" Freeman.

Here's the thing. We arrived about 20 minutes early to find a half dozen senior-citizen couples already seated. The families of young(er) parents with kids came 20 minutes after the film had already started.

Looks like Phil better get used to eating dinner at the 4:30 early bird specials and Matlock, Matlock, Matlock.

Mikesell : 10:32 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Hey, What's That Over There?

Long day. I'm burnt.

Do yourself a favor and check Angie Poole's blog entry for today.

Mikesell : 12:25 AM : 0 snarky remarks

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Dance Dance Dance

This afternoon I borrowed a digital still camera that has a "video" feature. It shoots a terribly low number of frames per second at a fairly dismal resolution, but hey, it's video.

After a quick trip through iMovie to edit out some of the more redundant moments and add a soundtrack it doesn't look too bad. Yeah, it's still not great, but "not too bad" is almost at the limit of my video shooting skills, regardless of the camera.

It's about 2Mb (and you may need the Quicktime viewer to see it), so be patient.


(by the way, Philip was singing "Fuzzy Wuzzy" over and over again while dancing, but all you lip readers knew that already)

Mikesell : 5:14 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Spider-Man, You've Let Me Down

At the beginning of the year I bought a Spider-Man desk calendar, hoping to get some decent pictures of Rhino (my favorite villain), either with Spidey or without. It's August 10th (day 222) and there's not been one yet; Rhino has only shown up teensy-tiny in rogue's gallery shots.

A day or so ago the Webhead was fighting ninjas--ninjas!--but Rhino is denied a significant appearance.


Mikesell : 11:59 AM : 0 snarky remarks

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Small World

When Phil finished the pre-K classes last week, he got a coupon for a free mini-pizza at a local restaurant.

We had to run a couple errands today, so Phil and I stopped for pizza and used the coupon. The place has a big play area, so Phil went and played while I worked on my "untitled conversion short story" and ate a side salad (I was going to get the buffet, but the guy in the line ahead of me served as a visual aid for what the pizza buffet can do to you).

When the pizza came, Phil and I shared it. Halfway through his couple slices, Phil announced, "That sounds like Tristan!" (a friend he made at pre-K, not Midwestern reader Brenda's son who ought to be in Chicago). Sure enough, it was.

It's amazing that as loud as it was near the play area, Phil could pick out his friend's voice, but if I stand next to him and ask him to pick up his toys he says, "huh?"


Mikesell : 11:28 PM : 1 snarky remarks

Monday, August 08, 2005

Pick My Brain, Dr. Phil

Actually this is about the real Dr. Phil, not my someday doctoral-candidate boy.

I saw this link at the Infuze Magazine website: Dr. Phil's Personality Test. (note: the DPPT link goes to a third-party site that is neither Dr. Phil nor Infuze Magazine; some things elsewhere on the site might not be appropriate for all people -- surf carefully.)

How did I fare? Here's what Dr. Phil has to say:
"Others see you as fresh, lively, charming, amusing, practical, and always interesting; someone who's constantly in the center of attention, but sufficiently well-balanced not to let it go to their head. They also see you as kind, considerate, and understanding; someone who'll always cheer them up and help them out."

I don't know about the "center of attention bit," but, then again, my stats show I average 14 return visitors every day (occasionally as high as 22), so maybe I'm just too darn modest.

What's the test say about you? Are you who you thought you were or does Dr. Phil know better?

Mikesell : 9:24 PM : 1 snarky remarks

Rumors Of My Non-Existence Have Been Moderately Exaggerated

I know of at least two e-mail messages that got "return to sender"-ed last night. If you sent me a message at the casco.net address recently and had your message bounced back, please send it again.

(my ISP seems to be monkeying with their spam/quarantine filter system ... bad monkey, no banana)

Mikesell : 1:12 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Second-Coming Of The Fonz

Dina put Phil to bed tonight. The final-bit of tuck-in protocol involves an endless stream of good nights, sleep tights, sweet dreams, etc., as you hurry to the door.

Tonight Phil added "see ya later, sweetcheeks" to the mix.

At the moment we both think that's funny. If Phil ends tomorrow's routine with "Die Laius, Die" then I'll start to worry.

Mikesell : 11:39 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Still On Target

We've just completed the 31st week of the year.

This morning, I finished reading my 32nd book of 2005.

The past couple years I've averaged more than one book per week (55 in '03, 57 in '04). I'm on track to just squeak by this year.

Mikesell : 11:09 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Friday, August 05, 2005

The Power Of The Inchworm

Phil has a hard life, at least he thinks so. He's been having serious meltdowns of late when he doesn't get his way or reality doesn't meet his expectations. Crying, shouting, roundhouse punching: typical five-year-old stuff.

Caving-in to his demands isn't really an option to calm him down. Compromise solutions get floated, but he rarely accepts them (hoping, I'm sure, for the whole enchilada instead of the proffered budget nacho plate). Ignoring him until he burns out only draws irritated glares when we're in public.

So it's nice to have something that works, at least to get him back to a semi-rational (for a five-year-old) state of mind. Cue "The Inchworm Song"

This song turns Phil to a limp noodle in under four seconds. It's like the Vulcan nerve pinch, but won't prompt a visit from Child Protective Sevices.

Just because I'm a great dad, I let him pick the starting number for the addition sequence. Yesterday he chose zero and told me I was doing it wrong when the number never got any bigger. What are they teaching in Pre-K these days (mostly the alphabet, it turns out).

The downside is he's begun to use it as a stalling technique at bedtime. The last two nights he's been out of bed within ten minutes of being tucked in, complaining of "bad dreams" and asking for the inchworm song to help calm him down. Still, it works and he hasn't continued game playing after I go in and sing it to him. If he keeps it up I might start thinking about applying the Vulcan nerve pinch at tuck-in time, but let's not go tattling that to CPS, huh?

Mikesell : 1:16 PM : 1 snarky remarks

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Waiting For The Phone To Ring

Well, not really; it's more like waiting for the e-mail box to chime.

Well, since I have the e-mail chime turned off, it's not like that either.

And it's not even like waiting for an e-mail to quietly appear in my in-box, because that's exactly what I'm doing.

Last June I posted this over on my writing blog. Well, it's four days into August and I'm still waiting.

On a positive note, Linda Gilmore, who wrote the first comment on that post, has just received her first fiction acceptance/publication credit.

Congrats again, Linda. It's nice to be proximal to the spotlight even if it isn't on me.


Mikesell : 10:14 PM : 1 snarky remarks

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Sock It To 'Em, Princess Leia (a rant)

The more you tighten your grip, Tarkin, the more star systems will
slip through your fingers.
--Princess Leia

Ya ever notice in the funny pages, every once in awhile a couple-three strips will have similar punchlines? I noticed that today checking blogs, only the punchlines weren't funny.

Over at No rules. Just right. frequent flyer Brenda Coulter encourages authors and publishers to lighten up about used books. (Author/editor Terry Whalin posted last week about used books, too.)

Northern neighbor Jordon Cooper, expressed similar sentiments toward the music industry.

Face it, some people are going to help themselves to a free ride. Some people are going to go to the library or a friend's house and borrow books, CDs, DVDs, soda pop, hairspray, whatever. People are going to fast-forward through commercials or score some pretzels during station identification. Such is life. Let it go.

Most money is made within the first year or two. If it takes a hundred-plus years to turn a profit, was it worth making in the first place? (A lot of stuff that does turn a profit in short order isn't worth making in the first place, but that's beside the point.)

I know it's not likely to happen, but I think shortening the copyright period would help solve the problem. Fourteen to twenty-eight years, like the Framers of the Constitution established. One-and-a-half to three decades and you don't have to worry any more. Or rather, you can worry about something else that's still under copyright.

You'll still have takers and moochers and cadgers, but you'll also have more good will. Abstainers and boycotters will come back to the table with money in hand. Material that has fallen into the public domain can still be sold (I'd be in favor of allowing publishers and studios to conspire to respect each other's material and avoid outright predation) -- include new (w/ 14-28 year copyright) content to counter outright bootlegging.

I hope to be published some day. If I'm a one-hit wonder, I'm probably still going to have to find a job inside a decade. If Phil is still sweating over unsold secondary rights when I've been dead for fifty years, I'm going to be sorely disappointed and will seriously consider haunting him. If Hollywood waits twenty-nine years to start working on a screenplay to avoid paying for the film rights, well I guess that'll save 'em a few clams. But I'd rather some young film student who fell in love with my obscure scribblings be able to take it on as a class project. If she's cute, maybe I'll haunt her instead (and then Dina can haunt me haunting her and we'll make a parade).

It all comes back to Princess Leia. The more they squeeze, the more people lose sympathy and respect for them (I've avoided mentioing the MPAA's lame "I'm a gaffer, won't you please think about my children" infopreviews; don't get me started). The more it all slips away.

An open hand could bring them back, but that's not what Empires are known for.

Mikesell : 12:10 PM : 1 snarky remarks

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Li'l Squirt, Big Squirt

Just a couple pix of Phil from the backlog:

Mikesell : 10:56 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Monday, August 01, 2005

Tilton Cheese

It was a morning just like any other morning
...in the Sinai Desert
...1200 B.C.
It glistened, it glowed, it rose from the gold of the children of Israel
(and most of the adults)

The Cash Cow

The golden Cash Cow had a body like the great cows of ancient Egypt
And a face like the face of Robert Tilton (without the horns)

(Steve Taylor, "Cash Cow")

Okay, that should've gotten rid of all the Bob Tilton fans. The rest of you, stick around.

Last night Dina, Phil & I went to a shindig at some friends' house up in Dallas (Oregon, not Texas). While there, the subject of the "Farting Preacher" video came up. Now if you're like me, you like a good preacher fart (at this point I suspect my parents and in-laws are no longer reading ... the rest of you, stick around). And a whole video of 'em? Whoa Nellie!

So this evening I Googled "farting preacher" and found that there are at least five videos featuring Bobby T. with dubbed-in wind-breakage at opportune moments. Most of the webpages with embedded video didn't play well with my Mac, but a couple sites allowed me to just download the vid and play it at my leisure (here and here). Over and over and over again -- perhaps I have too much leisure.

Be warned, these are possibly not safe for work and definitely not safe for beverage-drinkers. The rest of you ... enjoy!

Mikesell : 10:13 PM : 0 snarky remarks