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Saturday, May 12, 2007

A Quick Post Tonight

Well, it's been a long day and seeing as how it's now nearly midnight, I'm going to keep this pretty short tonight.

Had a fair day at work today; it was productive in unpredictable ways as per the usual.

After work I headed to Erik & Jill's house to meet up with Beth and Kirstin and to eventually have supper there. Got to meet Jill's folks and hang around there for a while. Shortly after I got there, Erik came home from work at the golf course and we all had a good time.

Erik, Jill's dad, and myself ended up hanging around quite a bit tonight. We took brush to the city dump, shared odd stories about unique events, and ended up out at the golf course after dark riding utility carts around the course while Erik was setting sprinkler timers and the like. As I'd never driven on a golf course after dark before, it was a good, fun time. I got to see a big-ass well (12" casing) and some really neat sprinkler control equipment. Very neat dorky stuff.

We ended up getting home pretty late -- around 11PM, so it's been a bit of a short night here at home and I'm getting quite tired. So, it's bedtime for me.

Until next time...which likely won't be tomorrow night as we're going to be quite busy tomorrow...but soon...

--MZ

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Many Topics To Discuss


Nothing But Smiles
I absolutely LOVE this picture; I just think it's so
cool. I was a bit upset that I didn't get her entire
head in the picture, but the content/subject more
than makes up for my lack of photo-taking prowess.
So blog entry #101 may become just a little bit rambly. I'll try to keep it down (especially as I'm tired and it's getting late), but you never know how that goes.

First off, Beth and I both got to talk to Minda tonight for some time. It was a good all-around conversation and was nice to actually be able to talk for a while rather than play telephone tag, etc. So that was Good Times. She's planning on coming out for an afternoon in about a week, so that will be fun. She gets to finally meet Kirstin!

Beth and I actually got to go out to lunch today. Together. By ourselves. It was a nice change, and quite random that it actually took place, but things lined up in such a way that made it possible for a little dinner date. Even if it was Pizza Ranch buffet (but that's a Good Thing because of the variety).

I got home from work this afternoon and decided that I really did have to go out and get the rest of the lawn mowed. Otherwise it'd be a Bad Thing. Namely because with the warm temperatures the last few days, the grass is growing like you'd not believe. So what just got cut the other day is already grown to the point where I couldn't mow tonight at the same height as what I mowed the other day (and make it look relatively the same). But, I got that done now and also mowed down some tall stuff that I'd wanted to do last fall but didn't because of other issues (namely the fact that I'd just cleared brush from the area in question).

While I was outside I got the weed eater started and ran it for a few minutes until I ran out of gas. That takes mixed gas, of which I have none, so when it stopped I was done. But that's alright, because I need to fill my little one-gallon can with mixed gas so I ca use the chainsaw and weed eater anyway...

I also took time to do the last of the backfilling around the septic tank covers. So they don't stick out quite as much now, and are level with the ground all around (I'd previously only brought the dirt level to the top of the riser pipes, so there was about 6" all around the covers that was 3" lower than ground level and looked strange). I also filled in the various dog holes on the east side of the house while I was at it and got the area cleaned up. Should be good now so that I can spread out some grass seed here in the next week or so and get that established again.

In other news, I noticed that the water is finally receding in the basement again. In that what little was still coming up through the floor has completely stopped and in several cases has either dried up or sucked what water was in the basement back into the ground. If we get a couple of relatively nice and fairly dry days, things should be completely dry in short order. Fantastic, because then I can work on the sump basin project.

I've got the slight luxury of being able to 'sleep in' a little bit tomorrow morning (maybe a half hour longer, depending upon Kirstin). This is because I was informed that the office building's power is going to be shut down while they finally do the three-phase changeover to the overhead wire. I guess they're starting around 8am and expected it to be out for about two hours. So I'm shooting to be in around 10 or 10:30. I'm not sure what I'll do in the morning (aside from watch Kirstin and hang out), but it's kinda nice to have that on a Friday morning.

And as a bit of a rant: I shall quote the following from a random email forward I received (because I was one of the 'mixed company' type of contacts in someone's address book.

I bought a bird feeder. I hung it on my back porch and filled it with seed. Within a week we had hundreds of birds taking advantage of the continuous flow of free and easily accessible food.

But then the birds started building nests in the boards of the patio, above the table, and next to the barbecue. Then came the poop. It was everywhere: on the patio tile, the chairs, the table... everywhere. Then some of the birds turned mean . They would dive bomb me and try to peck me even though I had fed them out of my own pocket. Other birds were boisterous and loud . They sat on the feeder and squawked and screamed at all hours of the day and night and demanded that I fill it when it got low on food.

After a while, I couldn't even sit on my own back porch anymore. I took down the bird feeder and in three days the birds were gone. I cleaned up their mess and took down the many nests they had built all over the patio. Soon, the back yard was like it used to be... quiet, serene and no one demanding their rights to a free meal.

Now lets see... our government gives out free food, subsidized housing, free medical care, free education and allows anyone born here to be a automatic citizen.

Then the illegals came by the tens of thousands. Suddenly our taxes went up to pay for free services; small apartments are housing 5 families , you have to wait 6 hours to be seen by an emergency room doctor , you r child's 2nd grade class is behind other schools because over half the class doesn't speak English , Corn Flakes now come in a bilingual box , I have to press "one" to hear my bank talk to me in English, and people waving flags other than "Old Glory" are squawking and screaming in the streets, demanding more rights and free liberties.

Maybe it's time for the government to take down the bird feeder.


What really pisses me off about shit like this is the fact that I received this through my work email account. That, and the fact that while I'm familiar with the person who sent it, we are by no means on a familiarity basis where one knows what I think about garbage like this.

For starters, pick a better metaphor.

Secondly, I absolutely HATE broad generalizations about groups of people in this sort of context. I won't go so far as to say that some of the aforementioned doesn't take place; it certainly does. HOWEVER, the programs in question are there for a purpose (a legitimate one at that); one which benefits many, many people.

What really infuriates me the most I think is the fact that people send this shit around and not only believe that it's funny or true, but think enough of it to keep sending it around. No wonder we have some completely absurd percentage of this country's citizens that believe a particular current leader and his dictatorial tendencies are the best thing since fried chicken (a reference to the southern US) and sliced bread.

Couple this with the fact that some absurdly large percentage of people under the age of 30 consider 'The Daily Show' and other satirical comedic television programs their primary source of daily news, and I believe we're really going to have a problem at some point in time in the future. Perhaps it's a good thing; people are filled with such crap they don't know what to believe. But the fact that comedians are delivering more 'news' than traditional outlets to the younger audience (of which I'm a demographic member) bothers me.

Anyway, that was a bit of a digression, but I don't like being included on stuff like that. Especially en masse as it were. Unfortunately, people adhere to crap like that. If they want to, I guess that's their right, but please think twice about sending it to everyone in your address book next time -- especially for those with whom you have a strictly business relationship.

So I'll step down from that box here to end the post. In a random bit of Google magic today, I discovered that the online bits of an old Computer Science classroom presentation I did in 2002 were used as references for someone's technical paper and presentation in 2005. Yeah, I was doing one of those vanity searches on Google and discovered this. It was oddly flattering, though, that someone thought enough of the material on which I'd presented (even though it wasn't my own material) and made available online (through the University) to include it as a reference in a technical paper and presentation.

Go figure. I guess I'm just that popular. :)

So, all of that stuff said, I'm signing off for the evening. Until next time...

--MZ

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

The Big 100!


Don't Take My Picture!
Kirstin was asleep this morning after a diaper
change, so I took a picture quick because this is
how she fell asleep. It looked like she was
holding her hand in such a way so as to say
'Don't Take My Picture!'
Well, I managed to reach the 100-post mark here at Blogger. Go me. The picture is representative of the fame I've achieved by posting here 100 times. No, please don't take my picture. :) I know that the two people who read this somewhat frequently are just overjoyed with the fact they've wasted enough time reading my daily ramblings about pretty much nothing. I appreciate that. :)

I called the county highway garage today and confirmed my order for the chloride application for this year. I changed it from last year's some in that I increased the length to 300' from 150'. 150 feet did the job relatively well, but it'd be good to have as little road dust as possible. It'll be a little over $250 that I don't really want to part with, but to not have to deal with the dust issue is worth that investment. Last year's application lasted into the fall before it really stopped working well.

Today's day at work was strange. I was only there for a half day, namely because I stayed at home to watch Kirstin in the morning. But you'd have thought there was a full moon out in the afternoon, because it seemed like everyone was crawling out of the woodwork. I must be that popular, I guess. I'd have to attribute that to the blog readers. :) But, it wasn't a bad day, just busy.

When I got home I was talking to Beth (and I'd put Kirstin down for a bit of a nap) when I noticed what initially appeared to be a really large squirrel near the end of our driveway. Upon second glance (mostly because said critter was sitting upright on its hind end), I realized it was no squirrel, but rather a woodchuck. So, it was time to eradicate this varmint problem. I don't need any woodchuck living near the house.

So, I went to the basement to procure and load the shotgun. I'd not fired said weapon in at least three years (since we bought the house) -- in fact it's probably been closer to four years. So I went out the back door and headed towards my prey. Well, the damn thing saw me come around the corner of the house and ran into the culvert beneath our driveway approach. So, I inspected both ends of the culvert from a distance, but was unable to verify the presence of the little bastard. This is mostly due to the grade of the ditches (it's really hard to see through the culvert). So, fairly convinced that he was in there, I fired two shots (one from each end at a distance of about 30 feet with pheasant load). No critter came out. So I either got him or he was trapped in there and afraid to come out. Long story short, after I got Beth a really long stick (it's my depth measurer for the septic tanks made from copper pipe and 1" conduit) and had her root around on one side of the culvert (hoping to chase said critter out the other side where I was waiting with the gun), we still didn't see any creature.

So, it was time to go one step further and actually fire the gun directly into the culvert. Again, long story short, by the time I got a board down (so I could lay on it while firing the gun without getting wet) and rooted around with my stick a bit, I discovered that I had indeed killed said woodchuck in the first shot fired. I discovered the body about three feet into the culvert. So there was no need to shoot again...and my target had been eliminated.

I have to say that it was actually a bit fun to fire off the shotgun again. I'm not a big gun fan, but it's a good time once in a while.

After all that excitement (once I got everything put away), I decided to sharpen my old set of lawnmower blades so that they're ready to go once I finish mowing the remainder of the lawn for the first time. I don't like to use new or sharp blades for the first cutting (because of all the random things that are sometimes strewn about and/or hidden until the first mowing), but I will be able to change them out without much trouble early next week and go from there. So good times with the grinder were had. That's cheaper than buying a new set of blades (at about $24 for the set). Hell, if they hold a relative edge for a few months it's worth it. And there's a lot of blade left to grind away before I'd have to replace it anyway.

So, when that was all said and done I came inside for the evening and I've just been hanging out since. Until now, though, because I'm heading for bed.

For the curious, I would encourage checking out the following links:

For humor: If Dogs Could Speak...

For boredom: Cavemen

Until next time...when I start the next 100 posts of my life ramblings...

--MZ

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

No Teeth All-Out Smile


No Teeth All-Out Smile
She was a happy little girl as she
was being held in the upright
position tonight.
This is one of the many pictures that got taken with Kirstin today. She's a happy girl, there's no doubt about that. Quite the personality in her -- or in Star Wars terms, "The Force is strong in this one..."

I'm trying to catch some decent video of her where she's just chatting away and having a grand old time, but so far with very mixed results. I imagine I'll get something one of these days...and then that'll have to be made available (although it will very likely not be public like the pictures) through one of the 'normal' channels. We'll see. I have to get a decent clip first.

In other news, this is the 99th blog entry I've made. The next will be Big 100! Go me!

Until next time...

--MZ

Dad & Kirstin - Day 1

So today was day #1 of just Dad and Kirstin at home -- no Mom to be had. It was a good day; things went really smoothly and just really good overall. This is mostly because Kirstin slept a lot throughout the day, so I had several opportunities to work on non-Kirstin things. I won't go into great detail (because the day was actually pretty mediocre regarding the actual happenings), but we hung around and played a bit (see Flickr for evidence of that -- I took something like 50 pictures today (not all make it to Flickr, so I think there were 11 uploaded there)), watched The Price Is Right, slept (well, Kirstin did -- I didn't), and just had a good day.

When Beth got home, I went out and mowed the lawn. Well, most of it. I had a meeting tonight at 7, so I mowed as much as I could get done in about an hour and a half. Which was most of the yard (minus the 1/2 acre of 'field' and the garden/dog yard section). There are some places where we could bale the grass clippings, but that's what I get for it being the 8th of May and being the first time out with the lawnmower. Ah well. I can hopefully get the remainder done tomorrow evening (when I'll break out the weed eater to trim up).

The camcorder carrying case and extra battery arrived today. Much anticipated, I might add. I had to wait for it to get back in stock (which took about two weeks) before I could re-order it. But now I can carry all of the camcorder stuff in one place plus I can also carry the regular digital camera along with it. Fantastic for wherever we need to go (when we'd want to bring both items), just from a logistics standpoint.

It seems like there was something profound I was going to write about, but I can't recall what that would have been now. See, I didn't write it down so I forgot. Ah well. There's always tomorrow...or the next day...or the next.

Until next time...

--MZ

Monday, May 7, 2007

Working Towards 100

So there aren't many posts left until the magic #100 is made here. Not too bad as far as things go; of course being much easier to post via this medium is why I still do it as frequently as I do.

Well, it was Beth's first day back at work since Kirstin was born, and it went pretty well. The initial departure was a bit rough, but it went pretty well (namely I believe since Kirstin was all happy and smiley, rather than pissed off and fussy). She seemed to enjoy her day back at the mill, and that's a Good Thing. Besides, there's only three weeks to go before school's out, and then she'll have some more time off.

So Jill came out today to watch Kirstin for the day while we were both at work. Tomorrow is my day. :) It should go pretty well, I'm guessing. We'll see what happens for sure. If all goes really well, I've got some things from the office I can work on (so as not to be so disconnected from work). It should be alright either way, because I made some pretty good progress on a few bits I've been trying to get done for some time now.

Work was kinda random today. There were lots of calls and miscellaneous stuff, but probably the most random and unexpected was the drop-in visit from my old insurance agent and his wife (they retired at the end of 2006 after 37 years). That was a good time, as I'd not seen them since shortly before their retirement. They seem to be enjoying the lack of always being 'at work' day in and day out...so that's good (especially considering that they did the day in, day out thing for 37 years -- it'd be quite a change).

I fixed the yard light this evening, by replacing the diffuser/shade in which I'd drilled new holes to keep it attached to the remainder of the fixture. Nothing like hanging on to a big wooden pole outstretched as far as possible to get that taken care of. And one-handed, no less. Eesh. Ah well, it only happens once in a while, so that balances out.

I also had some strange network problems here at the house today. At first I thought it was a problem with the hub, and then I thought it was a problem with Beth's computer (because that's what'd caused it last time). Basically, the hub was getting flooded and couldn't let any traffic through, thusly basically disabling all network service. If I had a switch instead (they were much more expensive seven years ago when I bought the 10/100 8-port hub), non-affected terminals could at least get traffic through (which would help identify the culprit)...but alas, it ended up being the Norton AntiSpam process on my good computer which had died and kept sending out packets. It wasn't until I shut all the machines down this evening I discovered which machine (and what was causing it).

So hopefully that problem is taken care of for a while. Time will tell. So I had a bit of catching up to do after the 10PM news tonight (because I'd not been able to receive email all day).

Aside from that, it's been pretty quiet. It's a little unique for both of us (Beth and myself) to get into a slightly different schedule now that Beth's back at work and Kirstin's around. I know she was pretty tired by the time she got home and is long asleep now. She likely won't even wake up when I get to bed (which is going to be quite shortly).

So until next time...

--MZ

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Welcome To The Wild World Of Weather

You know, it's not very often that I'm really, truly surprised by weather and its power. Today was one of those days, however.

You see, we had what seemed to be like hurricane-force winds pretty much from the time I wrote the last post (last night before midnight in which I wrote about the grill blowing over) through about 7PM tonight. This morning before we left for church I noticed that the weather was reporting 42MPH sustained wind in Morris. That doesn't include the gusts. We had to have some fairly good gusts in the 60-something range. It was absolutely phenomenal. The top was blown off of Kurva's doghouse (not that she uses it anyway) this morning. One minute it was there, the next it was in Josh's yard next door. I noticed that an old round bin-style hog feeder (about 8 feet tall and probably 6-8 feet in diameter) was blown over next to the barn as well. Very strange things. And all throughout (until just before we left for church), my three empty garbage cans didn't even get tipped over. Even when they did get tipped over, they didn't go far at all...just about two feet is all.

When we got home from church, I noticed probably the most disturbing thing about our windstorm. The yard light diffuser/shade had come loose and was hanging on the lamp itself (scratching the glass) and not hanging on the fixture like it should be. Upon close inspection this evening when I climbed up to the top of the pole to take [the diffuser] down, I noticed that it had actually been ripped out of the screws that held it in place. I brought it inside for the night (and have the yard light running tonight without a shade) and had to drill new holes for it (because the old screw holes won't work anymore -- they don't exist). That was simply bizarre.

Anyway, on the flipside, we haven't really received all that much rain from this storm, which is exactly how I'd like to have it. This will help to keep the basement drying up (rather than filling up). But nobody blew away (far as I know, anyway)...so all in all it's okay.

As noted in the last photo blog post I just made, we had a pretty busy weekend. It's funny how just taking a few hours to go to a party really can put a kink in how your whole day can go. Not that it's bad; it's certainly not. It just breaks up a day in such a way where you sometimes feel as though you didn't get anything accomplished, even though you did. At least that's how I look at it.

Granted, this weekend I've been pretty worthless; I took the weekend off in lieu of the unfriendly weather. Yeah, something like that.

So, with that said and the fact I have nothing else interesting to say...aside from that Beth will do just fine going back to work tomorrow...I sign off.

Until next time...

--MZ

Half & Half


Half & Half
I didn't realize it until I transferred this picture
to the computer, but I managed to get her face half
in and half out of the light. Very neat (and quite
random).
Kirstin's had a pretty big weekend. It was confirmation Sunday this week at church, so we went to a party yesterday for one of the confirmands, and then to another party this afternoon for another. Of course she gets passed around to anyone and pretty much everyone. She's the social baby. :)

--MZ

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