Friday, April 29, 2005

My back is still in tact

Update on the TV: Moved successfully. I did, however, need to take two different saws to our brand new entertainment center to make the set fit. All is well now. And no one injured themselves during the lugging/heaving of the set.

So a house in my neighborhood just sold for an atrocious amount of money. I thought the prices people were getting a year ago constituted highway robbery, and now this. This house originally sold for less than ours because of options, etc. They just sold for twice what we paid 3.5 years ago.

The funny thing is, when I talk to my neighbors who are moving, they all say the same thing: "We wanted to take advantage of the good prices and sell, get a bigger house and a bigger yard."

Yes, but... where are you going to go?! Everything else has gone up by the same percentages, if not more. The only way you're going to get something bigger/better is (A) shovel out a boatload of money/take on staggering amounts of debt, or (B) move waaaaaaay out into the boonies where your commute will be twice as long as it is now. No thanks on both of those.

Now, if I were moving out of the area, because of a job transfer or what have you, or for people like my parents who recently retired, it's great. Sell your house, move to another market, and you're in good shape.

For kicks I was on (looking up another neighbor's asking price) and I punched in the zip code where we used to live in Salt Lake Valley. Using my neighbors recent sale as a gauge, we could get twice the house (loaded with the options) and three times the yard, and have little or no mortgage (but given the job market out there, little or no income as well..).

So to all you Utah people, enjoy your housing prices.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

I knew it!

Finally, my suspicions have been verified. I've noticed a certain visitor on my sitemeter logs, and when I realized where the hits were coming from, knew (more or less) that a friend of mine was reading the blog. But I figured I'd wait and see if he'd say anything.

To his credit, for a long time he didn't. I'm not sure what he was waiting for, and I'm not really sure what I was waiting for. I guess I was curious how long it would take one of us to bring it up, a silent game of chicken? So tonight during a quick phone chat, he mentioned that he'd trust "EastCoastEddie". lol, FINALLY! I knew it!

A member of my ward, to whom I have referred previously on this blog, correctly applied deductive logic and narrowed down the number of members in my area who are former Catholics, of Italian heritage, married to redheads and have twins to.... one! I'm not sure how many others there are, so perhaps his deductive reasonings aren't quite that advanced.

So perhaps now this person will come out of obscurity and leave a comment or two. Allow me to introduce you to another member of my ward, we'll call him Incrivel. So, Incrivel, blog friends. Blog friends, Incrivel.

And hey, my blog gets read, whaddya know? Not that it matters, anything I complain about on here Incrivel has already heard about. For example, a recent "ward activity" we had which I completely disagreed with... I discussed it with Incrivel, and intentionally didn't post it on here in case others out there possess his same deductive reasoning abilities.

And now I must clean up the burrito that exploded in the microwave. Until next time.

(and if Incrivel has been reading carefully, he won't be at all surprised when I ask him to help me move the behemoth television set)

Who licked my clean window?!

File that under: "Things I never would have imagined saying, before I had kids."

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

The most expensive free TV set ever

Last summer my brother-in-law told me that if his wife (my sister) would approve of his desire to purchase an LCD/plasma/flat screen television, he would give me their existing TV. The existing TV was a 36" Toshiba. Not bad, given that we have a 19" set we bought shortly after we were married.

We really don't watch much television. There are a few shows we like, but even fewer that we "must see". There are some shows I like that are on too early when the kids are up, or on too late after my body has shut down for the night. The main exercise our TV gets is when the kids watch their videos, which Anne carefully metes out so as not to fry their brain cells all at once.

So a few months ago, somehow my brother-in-law convinced my sister to get the flat panel TV set. He plunked the old set in their basement, and has been waiting for me to come get it. The problem has been that we have no place to put it. Our existing entertainment center could probably hold a 27" TV, but definitely nothing bigger than that.

Our existing entertainment center is on its last legs, okay... it's next-to-last legs. It was a hand me down from a family who moved out of our ward, and they had received it from a neighbor who moved away, who probably inherited it from her great aunt Ida's estate. It's been great to have, but the doors are getting rickety and the glass in the big door will occasionally pop out (once scaring a babysitter half to death).

So last weekend we went shopping for a replacement. We found one which will be delivered tomorrow. I remarked to Anne on the irony, of how we were being "given" a television set, but had to fork out $X in order to be able to use it. Some free TV.

The only remaining hurdle is how to get said behemoth television set from my sister's place to our place, and then manage to squeeze it into the cabinet that I'm praying is large enough (despite the measurements we took, I always have my doubts...). If worse comes to worse, we'll leave it in the garage which will further reduce the amount of TV we watch.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

The post that never was... or was it?

I was going to write about a couple of things today. Like the drunk (or really incoherent, maybe he's not a morning person) redneck who stormed up to my car window this morning, cursing at me because apparently I didn't understand that he was using mental telepathy to signal his lane change, instead of employing the more common visible-to-the-naked-eye, incadescent lamp variety of turn signal.

I remained calm. In fact, I was bemused, so I said, "Now, wait, let me get this straight. You're going 30 mph, and a car going 60mph passes you in another lane--a lane that car was already in--but you wanted to get in that lane, and even though you didn't use a turn signal you're mad at me, the driver of the aforementioned car?"

Maybe it was my well-timed come back, or the fancy word I used at the end. He cursed again, as my power window whirred back up. He mumbled something I'm sure I don't want know as he staggered back to his truck. Hey, at least I was polite... for this area, anyway.

See, I would post about this and other stuff. But now I have to go home and grill some chicken for the missionaries who are coming to dinner tonight. Either that or they'll be sitting on the front porch waiting for me to get home.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

My Good Old Commodore 64... Online?!

Back in the day, my computing power was limited to 64kB of RAM on my Commodore 64. Ahhh, the good old days. Later on I upgraded to a C-128. 128 kB of RAM! Why, I could NEVER use all that memory! (I remember saying the same thing when I bought a 2400 baud modem a few years later... how fast!)

My "video games" were mostly limited to text. Well, the good ones, anyway. Sure, I had some games that involved flying aircraft and bombing places in foreign countries, those were always fun (what middle school-aged boy doesn't like to blow things up, after all?).

But the text games were an art form. You loaded the game, and would get a text prompt. You would type commands, and it would tell you the result. For example, "look" would return a statement of the things around you. To move, you would enter, "Go south" or "exit room" or what have you.

Two such games come to mind. One was Zork. The other has been on my mind as of late, "The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy". Yes, I played this game when I was a kid. It was an interactive, text-based version of the book. It was awesome.

So today I hit Google, and typed in, "Commodore 64 Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy" and found this website. They have the text game online!!

Now, I remember a few things. In the beginning, you only have so many moves until the house gets knocked down, or the world gets destroyed. And you have to get away from your house before it gets knocked down, or you will be killed by a falling brick.

As you can see below, I forgot all of this. Cut me a break, it's been at least 16 years since I played this game.

Infocom interactive fiction - a science fiction story
Copyright (c) 1984 by Infocom, Inc. All rights reserved.
Release 59 / Serial number 851108

You wake up. The room is spinning very gently round your head. Or at least it would be if you could see it which you can't.

It is pitch black.

> look

It is pitch black.

> get up

Very difficult, but you manage it. The room is still spinning. It dips and sways a little.

> turn on light
Good start to the day. Pity it's going to be the worst one of your life. The light is now on.

The bedroom is a mess.
It is a small bedroom with a faded carpet and old wallpaper. There is a washbasin, a chair with a tatty dressing gown slung over it, and a window with the curtains drawn. Near the exit leading south is a phone.
There is a flathead screwdriver here.
There is a toothbrush here.

> get phone
You reach for the receiver. You're certainly picking the tough tasks. The floor acts like a trampoline on an ice rink, or like something they've been working on for years at Disneyland.

> brush teeth

You have nothing to brush your teeth with.

> go south

You miss the doorway by a good eighteen inches. The wall jostles you rather rudely.

> leave room

You miss the doorway by a good eighteen inches. The wall jostles you rather rudely.

> get dressed

You're not holding your gown.

> get gown

Luckily, this is large enough for you to get hold of. You notice something in the pocket.

> look in pocket

It's hard to open or close the pocket unless you're wearing the gown.

> wear gown

You are now wearing your gown.

> open pocket

Opening your gown reveals a thing your aunt gave you which you don't know what it is, a buffered analgesic, and pocket fluff.

> swallow analgesic

You swallow the tablet. After a few seconds the room begins to calm down and behave in an orderly manner. Your terrible headache goes.

> go south

You make your way down to the front porch.

Front Porch
This is the enclosed front porch of your home. Your front garden lies to the south, and you can re-enter your home to the north.
On the doormat is a pile of junk mail.

> go south

Front of House
You can enter your home to the north. A path leads around it to the northeast and northwest, and a country lane is visible to the south. All that lies between your home and the huge yellow bulldozer bearing down on it is a few yards of mud.

Mr. Prosser, from the local council, is standing on the other side of the bulldozer. He seems to be wearing a digital watch. He looks startled to see you emerge, and yells at you to get out of the way.
The bulldozer rumbles slowly toward your home.

> stop bulldozer

You lie down in the path of the advancing bulldozer. Prosser yells at you to for crissake move!!!

> wait

Time passes...

The bulldozer thunders toward you. The ground is shaking beneath you as you lie in the mud.

> wait

Time passes...

The noise of the giant bulldozer is now so violently loud that you can't even hear Prosser yelling to warn you that you will be killed if you don't get the hell out of the way. You just see him gesticulating wildly.

> wait

Time passes...

With a terrible grinding of gears the bulldozer comes to an abrupt halt just in front of you. It shakes, shudders, and emits noxious substances all over your rose bed. Prosser is incoherent with rage.

Moments later, your friend Ford Prefect arrives. He hardly seems to notice your predicament, but keeps glancing nervously at the sky. He says "Hello, Arthur," takes a towel from his battered leather satchel, and offers it to you.

> take towel

As you take it, Ford says "Er, look, thanks for lending me the towel... been nice knowing you... got to go now..." He smiles oddly and walks down the Country Lane.

> follow ford

You can't do that while you're lying down!

> get up

The bulldozer driver gives a quick chew of his gum and slams in the clutch. The bulldozer piles into the side of your home.

Your home collapses in a cloud of dust, and a stray flying brick hits you squarely on the back of the head. You try to think of some suitable last words, but what with the confusion of the moment and the spinning of your head, you are unable to compose anything pithy and expire in silence.

> start over
You keep out of this, you're dead. An ambulance arrives.

> look
You keep out of this, you're dead and should be concentrating on developing a good firm rigor mortis. You are put in the ambulance, which drives away.

> wait
For a dead person you are talking too much. As the ambulance reaches the mortuary a fleet of Vogon Constructor ships unexpectedly arrives and demolishes the Earth to make way for a new hyperspace bypass.

We are about to give you your score. Put on your peril-sensitive sunglasses now.

That's probably how I'll die, in silence unable to think of anything pithy! Anyway, I've bookmarked this site and see myself spending many-a-lunch-hour there.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Meeting and a Jog

I told Anne, before leaving for a meeting last week, that I'd be back in about 45 minutes. When I returned two hours later she wasn't surprised, as she had seen the agenda and knew there was no way that meeting would be under 1.5 hours. Smart woman, she knows me and how I get talking.

I had talked with a friend from church a few months ago about running. I like to run, but am only diligent about it when I have a running partner.

My college roommate lived nearby when we still lived in Utah, and he and I would run a few times a week on the Jordan River Parkway. There were days when I'd be feeling like death, but I'd keep running because, you know, you can't wimp out in front of someone.

One time I mentioned that to him, and he laughed and said, "You have no idea how many times I'd have quit if you weren't charging along next to me." The irony is, there were probably days when we were both silently cursing the other!

So as we were leaving the meeting last week, this guy mentioned he was going to go for a run that night. I asked him how far/how fast/etc he planned to run, and we agreed to meet in about an hour. (cue Anne: You're going running at 10:15 PM?)

It was a good run, especially considering I've been a complete slacker since, well, when did we move here from Utah?

Friday, April 08, 2005

I'm still here...

Apologies for the sporadic posting. Life happens.

So Anne is out of town this weekend. She's in Utah visiting her family. I took off work Thursday and Friday to spend with the kids in her absence.

Thursday was absolutely beautiful out. Wednesday was in the mid-80's, but Thursday was more in the mid-70's. The cherry blossoms are out in DC, so I packed a lunch, loaded everyone into the car and drove downtown.

We had a great time. We listened to a marching band performing on the steps of the Jefferson Memorial, strolled along the Tidal Basin enjoying the weather, the sun, the views, the flowers, and the people watching. And the people watching US, lol.

We found a shady area on the lawn to eat lunch. The kids ran around, per usual, but sat down whenever I had something good to offer them... like apple juice, or cookies. Many of the passersby enjoyed the scene. We were well positioned, as people would stop to read a plaque by the walkway, then look up and see my kids running around chasing birds and eating peanut butter crackers. I just sat there, happily letting them expend their energy out-of-doors, snapping the occasional photo.

At one point a little girl crawled over to say hello to the kids. Her mom followed her, and we got to chatting. Weather, nice. Flowers, pretty. Kids, handful. etc. etc. Then, her curiosity getting the better of her, she says:

"So... Do you work, or do you have the... uhhh... pleasure... of staying home with your children?"

Nicely worded. So I've been wondering why she asked me that. Maybe I looked so "together" that she assumed I did this full time? Yeah, right, that's it.

Maybe she worried about the sanity of my children, and thought about calling Child and Family services? That's more like it.

Maybe she thought I was an unemployable bum who makes his wife support the family? Admitedly, I hadn't shaved, and Anne always says I look like I belong on an "FBI's Most Wanted" poster when I don't shave. So maybe I looked unemployable?

Or is it just unusual to see a father spending time alone with his kids?

When I answered, I couldn't tell from her reaction what the motive had been behind her question. I guess general curiosity.

Regardless, the kids and I had a good time, and as soon as Blogger decides to cooperate I'll put up some pictures.

Friday, April 01, 2005

April 1: Product Release from Google

Wow, the folks at Google have been busy. Maybe this is why the Blogger service has been acting so screwy lately.