18 March 2007

This is my wife...

    They're pissin' me off. Friggin' wolves. Should've known better than to adopt wolves.

This is my wife on Zoo Tycoon.

I guess I know which animal spirit she's not.

Teach my children how?

    Raising children is an incredibly hard and risky business in which no cumulative wisdom is gained: each generation repeats the mistakes the previous one made.
      Bill Cosby

Friday morning I was checking to make sure my oldest had her homework folder. I found the cover of her spelling workbook was crumpled and torn. When I asked her what happened, she told me it got that way in her desk. I understood precisely, and imediately I had a vision of those little grammer school desks stuffed with a mess of papers, pencils, and who knows what else, all in complete disarray.

You can probably guess that the desk I envisioned was not my daughter's, but my own desk in grammar school. I couldn't tell you which grade precisely because my desk always looked that way. So did my locker. So, for that matter, does my desk at work now.

You could call this a manifestation the parent's curse Bill Cosby refers to in the classic Himself - we are cursed by parents who wish our children will be just like us. I think it's also something we all privately wish for anyway - a sin of vanity we can't avoid but will come back to haunt us. Either way, we're doomed to see in our children not only our best qualities, but our worst. It's the latter that gets you.

I feel like trying to convice her to be more organized, more outgoing, less nit-picky, or maybe a little neater is an exercise in futility. Nothing parents, teachers, peers, or complete strangers did rid me of these bad habits. Nearly forty (ack!) years later, I still haven't shaken off such tendencies. My garage workbench is still a disaster, my holiday shopping is still last-minute, letting go of an argument is like severing a limb, and I'm still hanging out in the corner of the crowd trying not to make eye contact.

I guess, like everything else with parenting, I shouldn't worry too much. These are the things that make us human, me and her. She's a great kid, they both are, and nothing compares to the joy they bring. A messy desk is a small price to pay for that.

09 March 2007

DST Dumb-asses

    I oppose the bill for two reasons. First, it contains a number of highly objectionable provisions. Second, it simply ignores several of our most pressing energy challenges, such as our dependence on foreign oil.
      Senator Hillary Clinton
      regarding the Energy Policy Act of 2005

Par for course from the do nothing Congress of years past. Highly objectionable? Let me just say that I have found this Daylight Savings Time change extremely questionable. What a bonehead maneuver that was. What, Y2K was too boring? No major glitches? We needed to create a new issue? It's even got its own acronym: Y2K7. What a bunch of knuckleheads.

After spending several hours patching all our servers last night, I'm willing to vote for Hillary solely on the basis of her opposition to this bill.

08 March 2007

Death by Conference Call

    To mute your line, press star-6...
      Automated conference call voice

Lately it feels like that's the most useful think I've heard on a conference call. I am on more conference calls these days. I'm starting to feel like my phone headset has become some psychic vacuum sucking my productivity away. It's like the bridge line is some malevolent entity that feeds on my life force. I hang up from these calls feeling drained. I look at the clock and wonder where the last ninety minutes of my life just went.

"After the tone, please state your name."


"Please, kill me now."

"'Please, kill me now.' has joined the conference."

05 March 2007

On Road House and the Guilty Pleasure of Bad Cinema

    It may be the most peculiar recent movie ever except for "Road House," but then what can you say about "Road House"? Such movies defy all categories.
      Roger Ebert
      reviewing Black Snake Moan

Roger Ebert has been keeping to a light schedule, so it has lately been an unexpected treat when I find he's reviewed something. This week, he gave three stars to Black Snake Moan, a recent addition to my we-should-go-see-that-but-who-am-I-kidding-we'll-never-get-a-chance-until-it-comes-out-on-DVD list. I was glad to hear he liked the film, espeically Samuel L. Jackson's performance.

I was a little surprised, however, at the comparison to Road House. I wondered for a moment if Roger Ebert actually thought it was a good movie. He did not, of course, choosing to sum it up in this way:

Road House exists right on the edge between the "good-bad movie" and the merely bad. I hesitate to recommend it, because so much depends on the ironic vision of the viewer. This is not a good movie.

That's why I like Roger Ebert. He's not afraid to take joy in bad movies, and his reviews of them are some of my favorites (if you haven't read his review of The Core, you should). On his light schedule, Ebert is probably cherry-picking the better movies to review. I hope that as his health continues to improve, he'll choose to indulge in one of these guilty pleasures, in turn sharing with us all.