September 24, 2006

About those question marks

Filed under: Uncategorized — Brian @ 8:06 pm

Turns out is offering me the option to use one of those avatars all the cool kids have been talking about for like five years now.

Actually, less of an option, it seems, than a requirement.

So, to get rid of those question marks, I headed to Flickr. I found this cool bean photo there with a Creative Commons “attribution, non-commercial” license. Now, I’m not sure how best to give attribution (nor am I certain that I’ll keep it), so I’ll try this:

The photo of the red beans I’m using is this one, by flickrich. A fellow with a fine-looking portfolio and a healthy appreciation for things from Cupertino, California.


September 22, 2006

Creeping Cacophony

Filed under: fatherhood, humor — Brian @ 6:43 pm

Eric told the other day of a relation’s car’s nasty habit of honking its horn in the middle of the night, waking the Siegmunds and their neighbors.

At my house, it’s just the residents that get the treatment.

Last Monday, I was taking a day off work. At some point in the afternoon, the smoke alarms upstairs went off. I ran upstairs to see what was ablaze only to have the alarms stop before I got up there. Hmm. Wierd. Back to whatever I was doing.

To bed early on Monday night – I’d been a little on the sleepy side lately. I fall asleep only to be woken almost immediately by the smoke alarm in my son’s room down the hall going off. Now, I wake at the slightest sound. A sniffle down the hall and I’ll perk up and listen to hear if it’s something more. A sighing dog will bring me around just enough to know I can safely go back to sleep. A smoke alarm? I’m up and down the hall before the second squeal. But again, it stops after three or four beeps. It’s about 10:15.

What’s this about? They must be dying. Meh. It’s been about 12 hours since the last alarm. It’ll be another 12 before they do it again. I’ll take care of it in the morning.

(And it’s true that they don’t wake children, by the way. At least not mine)

Couple minutes later, lying in bed, I wonder how stupid I’ll feel if it turns out that something’s burning downstairs. Out of bed and down I go, flashlight glowing and nose twitching. Nothing.

Back to bed.

2:30 AM I wake to find myself standing in my son’s room staring stupidly at the blaring smoke alarm. They’re all interconnected, so when one goes off, they all go off, but I know one of the boys’ alarms was first to trip.

So, it’s out with the flashlight, and down with the alarms in their rooms. One issues a plaintive beep when unplugged. I take it as an admission of guilt.

I put the alarms on the floor in my bedroom and climb back into bed, thoroughly awake.


They’re now complaining that the AC power is no longer present, but the battery is working fine, thanks.

Up out of bed, and out with the batteries.

Back into bed.


I hate capacitors.

Back out of bed. Take the alarms downstairs. They’re going outside. Out the back door – I resist the temptation to thrown them as far as possible. Close the door. Set the lock. Turn out the light. Head back towards bed.

CHIRP! … RRRP! … RRPp! … rrp!

It echoes throughout the neighborhood. Well, that’s not very neighborly of me.

Open the door, bring them back in. Dig out the screwdriver and break them apart down to the circuit boards. I wonder just how radioactive americium really is. Another sad little chirp issues from one.

Wrap them each in a towel. Wrap those towels in a towel. Wrap that in a third. Stuff the bundle under a sofa cushion.

Back upstairs. To bed. And sleep.

I never heard them again. Probably they’d finished by the time I finished wrapping and stuffing them.

We have all new ones now, and all of the old ones are gone. I’m all about collective punishment.

Jim Was Here

Filed under: The Neighborhood — Brian @ 6:33 am

Now that he’s said it, I can say it plainly. (I know, I didn’t give you long to work on the puzzle posts. It’s a fine balance I walk over here.)

Last night, I opened the front door to a man who greeted me with an, “Are you Brian?”

After confirming our respective identities to each other’s satisfaction (“uh – yeah, that looks like the guy in Eric’s recent photos.” “Uh – yeah, that guy, um, knew my name…”) he came on in.

It’s funny having a person you’ve never met before stop by after dark to spend the night. I was explaining the upcoming visitor to the kids the other day and they asked who he was. “He’s one of the guys we met on the Internet” I said. And then started to stumble over myself trying to explain why it was OK with *this* guy from the Internet, but not a good general rule to have random Internet people stop by.

But it was nice to hang around with Jim for a little while.

Now he’s off to the next mystery location.

Don’t ask. I won’t tell.

September 21, 2006

January in Michigan

Filed under: pointlessness, whatever — Brian @ 9:43 pm

January in Michigan is something horrible. Extra repulsive, even!


Filed under: pointlessness, whatever — Brian @ 7:45 pm

Sometimes everyone runs out together, only now I’m not ready. All indoors now!

September 19, 2006

Paper Cuts

Filed under: Art — Brian @ 8:59 pm

Found at Bearskin Rug – some pretty amazing things done with paper, glue and a sharp knife.

September 3, 2006

Tres, Trois, Three Things

Filed under: Blogroll, pointlessness, whatever — Brian @ 4:44 pm

Gwynne rousts me from my blog slumber with a challenge…

1. Three things that scare me:

  • Sending my kids out into the world.
  • Not sending my kids out into the world.
  • Wasps.

2. Three people who make me laugh:

  • My sister
  • Steve Martin
  • John Cleese

3. Three things I hate the most:

  • The annoying differences between “reality” and “theory.” I refer to this reality, and most any theory. (“We must make the best of the men as they are, since we cannot have them as we wish” – George Washington)
  • Drivers who ignore traffic laws in favor of being “polite.” “Oh, I see you’re turning left across my lane of traffic. I’ll stop to let you go.” “Oh, a school bus stopped on the other side of this 4-lane, 55MPH highway. I’d better stop.” It is most unfortunate that rear-ending such folks would still reflect poorly on my driving record.
  • Focusing on “things I/we hate.”

4. Three things I don’t understand:

  • The dissonance between “Don’t fail” and “Don’t be a perfectionist”
  • Why restaurants allocate equal space among the blue fake sugar, the pink fake sugar, the yellow fake sugar, and the white real sugar, when the real sugar container is always empty, and there’s no way that there are more than four people in America to whom 15 calories – during a restaurant meal – makes the tiniest bit of difference.
  • While we’re at the restaurant… I don’t understand why the ketchup now comes in opaque red bottles, so you can’t tell if it’s empty, full, or somewhere in between. This has to be even more annoying for the waitstaff.

5. Three things I’m doing right now:

  • Drinking coffee
  • Noticing the unpleasant sound from the keyboard of my beloved iBook as I type
  • Answering questions from my 6-year-old son

6. Three things I want to do before I die:

  • Truly live
  • Discover my purpose (i.e. “complete the Bean Quest”)
  • A Triathalon

7. Three things I can do:

  • Juggle three things passably well.
  • Type 100 words per minute, when I’m on a roll.
  • Paint the edge of the wall along the ceiling while standing on the floor.

8. Three ways to describe my personality:

  • Joking
  • Sarcastic
  • Absent-minded

9. Three things I can’t do:

  • Juggle five things.
  • Ride a unicycle.
  • Remember stuff.

10. Three things I think you should listen to:

  • The people who love you
  • Your conscience
  • Your children (if you don’t have one, borrow someone else’s)

11. Three things you should never listen to:

  • Any song where part of the lyrics is to spell something with the words “to the” in between the letters of the word. (parodies of such songs excepted)
  • The local TV news – it’s not as bad as they make it sound
  • Exercise advice from a fat person

12. Three things I’d like to learn:

  • To juggle five things while riding a unicycle.
  • Spanish.
  • Really complex math. The stuff with all the wierd symbols I can’t explain.

13. Three favorite foods:

  • Everything Jennifer makes for me. (er… this is an update…)
  • Burritos
  • Chicago hot dogs
  • Smarties

14. Three beverages I drink regularly:

  • Coffee
  • Water
  • Beer

15. Three shows I watched as a kid:

  • Bugs Bunny / Road Runner show
  • Growing Pains
  • Animaniacs. (A “college kid” is still “kid”, right?)

16. Three people I’m tagging (to do this):

I started this early this morning. It’s 5:40 now. Not that I haven’t gotten up and done other things, but still – this is more work than I want to assign to anyone. How ’boutcha pick 3 of the 3 and leave ’em in the comments?

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