Archive for November 2007

Virtual Couch-Burning

Well, my bro did it again, staged a great party with a surfeit of food and just enough drink (unless you consult my sisters-in-law). And because we’ve blamed him in the past when OSU has lost to Michigan, we need to give him a lifetime service award for delivering FOUR WINS IN A ROW! But before we could party down, he put me to work on various projects. Most had to do with setting up his back yard for the party, but we also had to go out to his little woods in the back (back behind the pond that he dug and stocked with fish) and secure a couple of deer stands. He had offered their use over the Thanksgiving weekend to his boss and son, and it wouldn’t do to have either of them nail his buck by crashing down onto them in a negligently-erected deer stand.

You see, my brother got my dad’s hunting and fishing genes, the ones that Dad realized had missed me during our early, fidgety sessions in torpid summer afternoon boats and freezing predawn duck blinds in and around the Maumee River. My brother now has a wonderful property to pursue both activities, if he chooses not to venture out to the numerous venues available for those activities in the Low Country.

All of this, of course, was just extended foreplay for The Game. And, maybe it was because there was less at stake, or maybe because it was a noon kickoff instead of a night game, but we were a lot less frenetic this year than last year. Still, it was a very satisfying outcome, even though Tressel decided to win the game by sucking the oxygen out of the stadium instead of setting off an arsenal of offensive fireworks. Can’t help taking perverse delight in these images, however:

Yep, those girls are a-cryin’. Boo-frickin’-hoo.

I know we seem to gather as a family a lot, which is sort of amazing considering our disparate geography.  We’ve come to enjoy each other’s company as the advancing years have reduced the significance of our age differences (10 years oldest (me) to youngest).  And the frequent sight of us serves to remind our mom how glad she is that she didn’t have a fourth.

Running Ragged

It was a short and dizzying week. I’m currently at the Seattle airport on my way to Charleston, SC. My flight to Houston is delayed, and I’ll likely miss my connection that would have plopped me in Charleston at the civilized hour of 4:30 pm. The next available flight, upon which they say I’m “protected”, won’t get in until 10:30. So, I’ll probably have 5 hours to while away in Houston.

Sunday was Mrs. Perils’ birthday, and we celebrated with a terrific cake that she made:

I long ago forgot the mathematical notation required to convey her age in this limited space, so let’s just say she’s another year older and leave the details to the actuaries.

Monday night I drove to the Tri-Cities in eastern Washington to do a software upgrade on my winery client. I usually spend a couple of days over there, but this visit was compressed, and both the drive over and the drive back were in the dark. That’s too bad, because I really enjoy driving through eastern Washington and marveling at the fascinating landforms. Here are some photos from the last time I made the drive:

My client’s restaurant/tasting facility

Looking south toward the Columbia from Yakima


It came to pass that I indeed missed my afternoon flight to Charleston, so I’ve been cooling my heels at the Continental President’s Club in the George Bush International Airport in Houston. Not a bad place to while away a few hours, all in all, and it gave me the opportunity to be billable for the afternoon, thanks to the free wireless in the Club.

Weather looks to be coolish (highs in the 60s) but sunny in Charleston for the weekend. I’ll take some photos as soon as light and time allow.

Mr. Gunwrench

This article will satisfy neither camp in the culture wars. While it seems to indicate that Darwin is losing influence (the guy lived), it also resoundingly refutes the concept of Intelligent Design. From today’s P-I:

SOUTHWORTH — A man trying to loosen a stubborn lug nut blasted the wheel with a 12-gauge shotgun, injuring himself badly in both legs, Kitsap County sheriff’s deputies said.

The 66-year-old man had been repairing the car for two weeks at his home northwest of Southworth and east of Port Orchard and had gotten all but one lug nut off the right rear wheel before getting frustrated Saturday, Deputy Scott Wilson said.

From about arm’s length the man fired the shotgun at the wheel and was “peppered” in both legs with 00 buckshot and other debris.

Wilson described the injuries as “severe but not life-threatening.”

Moving On

Enough of mourning, it’s Michigan Week, a time of abstinence and quiet reflection for us Buckeye fans.

Haw, haw. As you might have noticed, I changed the banner for this week. The significance of each of the photos in the banner, as well as a lot of other OSU-Michigan lore, can be gleaned from this 2005 post.

As I believe I said in an earlier post, I’m flying to Charleston, SC on Thursday to gather with my 2 brothers and our mom for a long weekend As we have for the past 4-5 years, we’ll build a pit fire in my brother’s field, roast a bunch of oysters, drink a little beer that my other brother from Atlanta has been brewing at his cabin on Lake Hartwell, and watch the game in what looks to be 70-degree weather. Weather in Ann Arbor on Saturday: 44 degrees and rain.

The trip will force a lot of work into the next three days, especially since the following week, Thanksgiving week, will be short as well.

Happy Monday, all!


Another case of Titleus Interruptus. In August, none of us who foolishly preoccupy ourselves with the Buckeyes’ football fortunes thought that a team rebuilding from losing 8 players to the 2007 NFL draft would be sitting at 10-0 on November 9th. Once we were, however, we saw no reason that we wouldn’t be 12-0 on November 18th. We simply got outplayed, at the Horseshoe, by a team that inexplicably wanted it more than we did.

This period of mourning will last about 4 more hours. Then it’s time to start thinking about Saturday and the possibility of heaping more disappointment on this benighted household.  The Rose Bowl’s a pretty good consolation prize to play for.

It’s Coming…

Wait For It….

Week In Review

I can’t do it any more. I’ve been supporting the writer’s strike by not posting this week, but I’ve become disenchanted with the Guild’s advocacy vis a vis this blog, and I’m going scab.

Plenty happened this week. We had kind of a strange election in Seattle on Tuesday. The biggest deal was a massive transportation plan that coupled a wish list of highway construction with an ambitious mass transit construction project. You couldn’t choose one without the other, and the gamble was that commuters were so fed up with the status quo that they’d calibrate or arbitrage their fear of the unknown (mass transit) in order to ameliorate their immediate pain (highway gridlock). That gamble failed, as the haters of both roads and the haters of mass transit formed an unholy alliance to scuttle the whole thing.

Otherwise, I don’t think this election, in Washington at least, was much of a bellwether for where we’re going in 2008. I really think that, with the economy in flux and with the payback to Democratic voters from the 2006 election in serious doubt, it’s really hard to predict what’s coming up for 2008.

In other news, our member presale for the Ashland Shakespeare Festival started on Monday, and I rushed to buy our tickets for the last week in June. We’re in the front row for every performance, and we’re going to see:

  • Our Town by Thornton Wilder. The last time I visited this play was when I was a senior and it was performed at our high school. I think it might have more resonance for me as an adult
  • Midsummer’s Night Dream - seen this a lot, but never tire of it.
  • Coriolanus - we saw this in Ashland about 10 years ago. It was a swashbuckling, all-out extravaganza in the outdoor theater. This production is going to be in the minimalist New Theater, and I’m not sure how well it will scale, or whether I’ll like it nearly as well. The delight will be in figuring it out.
  • Fences - by August Wilson, another in his Pittsburgh Cycle. Looks to be 10 or 20 years after Gem of the Ocean, which we saw last year.
  • The Clay Cart - a 2000-year-old Indian play that they claim is “utterly Shakespearean in spirit”. “Jewels are stolen. A Brahmin faces execution. A beautiful courtesan is at the mercy of the King’s bad-boy brother. Journey through a world where gamblers, holy men, political fugitives and royal scoundrels intersect and good people triumph.” Enough to elicit my ticket.
  • Othello - we saw a performance of this play at Ashland several years ago. It’s hard to disassociate from the Olivier black-and-white film where Iago was by far the most riveting character. Gonna give it another try.
  • The Further Adventures of Hedda Gabler - Hedda Gabler (from the Ibsen play, which OSF staged a few years ago) and various other dramatic characters, including Medea, and Mammy from Gone With The Wind, populate a fitful post-last-act purgatory. Sounds like it might be fun, if a bit fluffy. From a review ,
    • Tragic heroine par excellence Medea (Kate A. Mulligan), who at one point shows up blood-soaked from murdering her children for the umpteenth time. “I did it again,” she says, “and I feel rotten about it.”

So, we’ve got that to look forward to. I actually get really jazzed by just buying the tickets and making the reservations for lodging. It’s almost better than Christmas.

And Thursday night, once again, I was invited to my Jordanian/Palestinian project partner for an Arabic dinner, this time featuring two lamb dishes. One was kibbeh, a sort-of lamb meatball served with tabouleh. Another was made from chunks of lamb cooked in a yogurt sauce. I believe it’s called mansaf, and was served with white rice and pine nuts. Dinner was again followed by Turkish coffee. We again made it through the whole evening without somehow mentioning work, although it was a lot harder than last time, when we were getting acquainted.

Clock Calisthenics

I realize that it was cruel to leave that last post at the top for so long. Let’s see how far down we can push it.

It’s 6 am and, due to the time change, it already seems like a long day. I allowed myself to be sweet-talked into returning to Milwaukee this week, and I’m at Seatac waiting to board my plane. I’ll be time’s plaything today, a temporal yo-yo. It started, of course, with the “fall-back” early this morning. I’ll fly first to Detroit and spend an hour or less in EST, then hop back across Lake Michigan to spend the week in the equivocal climes of the Central time zone. When you do the math, I guess it ends up only being an hour’s dislocation.  I posit, in any event, that I really am my own time zone anyway, and I claim something like diplomatic immunity from the petty jurisdictions imposed by geography.

I hate to let my mom know that I flew through Detroit without popping down I-75 to see her in Perrysburg. We’ll see each other in a couple weeks, though, when she, my brothers and I gather in Charleston, SC for our annual oyster roast and OSU-Michigan gamewatch.

Meantime, she called me Friday with a problem with her computer, but I was at a client’s and couldn’t get back to her until Saturday (after, of course, the OSU game was over). Her screen was frozen with strange stuff all over it that she tried to describe and I tried to visualize. I finally just had her power down & back up and, as with 99% of all computer problems, that resolved the issue. Turned out she had been turning the computer and peripherals off by simply pulling the plug instead of doing the Windows shutdown. While it’s arguable that today’s vacuum cleaners are both more complicated and more useful than a PC, a PC’s operating system is more finicky and less bullet-proof, and you can’t operate them the same way.

One amusing thing, that I wish I had video of: she said that she struggled for over an hour with the computer on Friday night, then gave up & went to bed. Once in bed, though, she became so angry that she couldn’t sleep, and got up and struggled with it for a couple more hours. I think I’d really enjoy the video if it came with sound.

Sorry to use you for a prop, Mom.  It was the best material I could come up with.