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Showing posts from March, 2008

What year is it?

Today there is a story in the Seattle times about how the reversible carpool lanes that run through downtown Seattle on I-5 work . Did you know that they switch them by hand? Twice a day? It takes 2 poor bastards almost an hour, in traffic, in all weather, to go out there and reverse the direction of the gates and signs. I am astounded. We have some crusty old roads around here, sure, but I had no idea that guys had to go stand in traffic twice a day to reverse those gates. The story says that they do it the same way as when the lanes were put in 40 years ago. Some rocket scientist is just now writing a proposal to remote control the gates. I may be mistaken, but I think that, even 40 years ago, they had really long wires. Why didn't they run wires out to those gates when they put them in? Why put the switches in control boxes on the freeway? On the freeway!? Who's idea was that? "Say, Joe, shall we put the gate switches here in the metro control?" "Nah, just put


George Originally uploaded by todbookless George the cat came home with a bloody leg the other day. Apparently he had been fighting, again. The Vet sewed him up, but now he has to wear a collar for a couple of weeks. The good news is that this time he got a much better collar. It is a soft, flexible vinyl instead of a ridged one so he can eat, drink, go up and down stairs, and not get snuck up on by Gracie. Alex says he looks like he is getting ready for a haircut. George doesn't seem too bothered by it, except that his instinct is to lick his leg, which he can't reach, so he licks the collar. He can't seem to quit doing this. When I picked him up at the Vet, the ladies there had also dressed him in a bandanna that had pink hearts on it. Uncalled for! He was in for fighting. He is a mole catcher - a tough guy - and they dress him up in little pink hearts when he is under anesthetic? Poor George.


00001 Originally uploaded by todbookless I think that I have been misinformed. I had the understanding that is it Spring. I am fairly certain that the weather man told me that March 20th was the first day of Spring. Today is the 28th and it has been snowing for most of the day. There have been 45 inches of new snow in the Pass in the last 5 days. I do believe in global warming, but right now I am wondering if the glaciers will all melt before they crush my house. I'll have to check my insurance policy to see if I am covered for an ice age.

Eggtastic Scouting

I am the den leader for my son's Cub Scout den and we had a meeting on Monday. I am trying to help the kids do all of their required achievements so they can earn their Wolf badges. Basically, we have to assume that the parents are going to do nothing - that they are going to treat Scouts like babysitting. They want the kids to have fun and learn values, but not if they have to do anything. Even though many of the achievements are things that they are supposed to do at home with their families, all of the den leaders so them at the den meetings anyway, or most of the kids would never get their badges. This Monday I noticed that most of the kids in my den had not completed their cooking achievements. They had three - cook a meal for the whole family, make yourself breakfast, and cook an outdoor meal. I came up with a scheme to get the kids all three achievements at once. I took a Coleman Stove to the meeting and set it up outside the church where we have meetings. Then I had my d


My family in Kansas is very colorful. They tend to live for ever and have way too much free time on their hands. This is not a good combination. Apparently my 94 year old Avon Lady grandmother went to visit her sister (my great-aunt) in the nursing home over Easter. Keep in mind that my great-aunt has Alzheimer's and my grandmother doesn't think that is a real disease. She thinks that my great-aunt is being difficult when she can't remember and that she just needs to stop it. My great-aunt, who is the calmer of the two, tried to bash my grandmother with her cane. Again. Apparently this has happened before. My grandmother also walks with a cane now, so I am sure that one of these days there will be a cane fight in the old folks home. This time it just turned into a shouting match (again) that the staff had to break up before it was necessary to break out the fire hoses or tear gas. I don't know if every retirement home has bouncers, but that one probably has some on duty

Chuck E Cheese Birthday

We celebrated Alexander's birthday today. He told me that this year he wanted to have his birthday at Chuck E Cheese . Well, OK. Chuck E Cheese is kind of like Vegas for kids. I don't really like Vegas, but how often does a kid turn eight. I asked him who he wanted to invite and he named 20 people. Of course, not every kid could come, but several adults could come so we had quite a crowd. The place was packed, of course. Everything went fine, the pizza was fine, the kids won lots of tickets which they traded in for cheap junk. Then they brought me the bill. Holy crap! As we were leaving I was pulling junk out of my pockets looking for something and Alex saw the bill. He asked if it really cost that much and I said yes. His response was, "What a waste of money!" Nice. As a fellow parent explained - this is good news because I have taught him to appreciate the value of a dollar. I think next year I will just work with him on the plans ahead of time.

Seattle Roads Are Not For The Weak At Heart

There was a great story in the news today. Apparently, someone crashed into a guardrail at 4am. So what, you ask? Well, this is Seattle, so there is always a chance that an otherwise normal crash will be spectacular. This particular guardrail was attached to the Alaska Way Viaduct - the aging, sinking, rickety freeway that carries Highway 99 through downtown and along the waterfront. Modern guardrails are boring. Jersey Barriers just kind of bump you back onto the road. Not so on the Viaduct. This fellow smacked into the guardrail and part of his engine was ejected onto the street below . How cool is that, in a "Holly Crap!" kind of way? Suppose you were walking under the viaduct when something like that happened? "Did you hear that Joe died? Killed by a flying engine." Beautiful. Where else could that happen? The viaduct is one of the main road links in the region that is in desperate need of repair. It is not a question of if it will fall down. It is a question

Hard Work and Hot Tub - an Excellent Combo

This last Sunday I finished The Shed, chipping all of the branches from The Shrubbery of Infinite Branches, took a load of junk to the dump in the fire truck, and even mowed my yard. Whoo hoooo. I was a bit tired after all of that, so I thought I might give the hot tub a go. We just got it operational again (both pumps and the controller board blew up) and I had not tried it out, yet. Alex loves to go, and with the slightest whisper of  "I'm going in the hot tub" he was changed into his swim suit and had his bag of bath toys in about 2 seconds flat. We went in and played with boats and rubber ducks. George the cat came around to see what the heck we were doing. He likes the water, but the thought of sitting in it is confusing to him. I think that I might need to make that a regular thing - work hard then go in the hot tub. You might be saying to yourself, "duh." I guess I am a slow learner. Anyway, after a good soak I was ready to make Shepherd's Pie (with B