"Observations" Archives

August 30, 2008
I'll bet you didn't know this

Follow me on this. I know, it'll be a shock to you. It certainly was to me.

I don't think anyone's remarked on it, but you know that Sarah Palin? I was watching the news, and I noticed... if you get past the tough reformer, past the leadership and wild approval ratings, past her principles.... Come on — you know who I'm talking about? — Sarah Palin? Governor of Alaska? McCain's VP nominee?

You might want to sit down for this. And send the kids out of the room — this is that shocking.


That Sarah Palin... she's, uh... she's kind of hot, don't you think?

I know it's not obvious.

I don't think anyone's mentioned that so far. Thought I'd point it out.

Posted by Russ at 04:16 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

It only just occured to me: with my two years as a squad leader in the Army, I have more executive experience than Obama does.

Sarah Palin's years as a decisive mayor and governor — and as a reformer — far outweigh Obama's history of "present" votes (or absenteeism) during his career as part of the — undeniably corrupt — Chicago political machine.

Posted by Russ at 10:52 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
August 27, 2008

More and more these days, when I'm watching programs with a scientific bent on the Discover Channel, or TLC or even the History Channel, I find myself thinking that every single declarative sentence uttered in any of these programs ought to end with "... at least, that's what we believe right now."

Theories and hypotheses being passed off as settled fact bother me greatly.

Posted by Russ at 08:01 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
June 22, 2008
Ravings of a fevered mind

Shortly before going to bed last night (this morning, really) I came down with a fever and aches. Swell. At least it didn't wait until my weekend starts at midnight tonight. I can work through being unwell, but I hate losing my days off to illness. I have too much to do.

I think I need to have my shunt adjusted. When I occasionally cough or sneeze, I feel what might be described as a pressure spike in my head — a momentary pang, like a headache that comes and goes in a split second. I think there's still a bit too much pressure in there.

I keep making progress at physical therapy, and my reward is more weight on my ankles, or newer more difficult exercises.

The birds in my neighborhood are retarded. They start chirping about two hours before sunrise — right outside my bedroom window. The feathered buggers can make it hard to get to sleep.

A thunderstorm in the wee hours of the morning, however shuts them right up... and I have no trouble falling asleep if it's thundering or pouring rain.

The cats get a bit nervous, though. Kismet curls up tightly right against me, and Packet stretches out on the bed as well. Mycah would come up, but she rarely ever voluntarily approaches the lads.

They, on the other hand, continually try to make friendly with her. It's particularly noticeable at feeding time. I call "food!" and the cats know it's time to go downstairs. Packet races down to the bottom of the stairs and flops down. Kismet positions himself on the landing halfway down. Mycah follows behind me as I go down — she gives Packet a brief hiss and heads down past him... and he follows, batting at her tail. She then gets to the bottom of the stairs ahead of me, and has a few words with Packet, who lays there oblivious to her demand that he move out of her way. It's as if he is daring her to approach him... but he eventually gets out of the way.

Food seems to be the great unifier, though. When the hairball treats are being distributed, Mycah has no objection whatever to the lads' immediate presence. Once the treats are gone, though, the hissing starts again... but she's getting better. Eventually she'll tolerate the lads.

Work starts in a couple of minutes. Sundays are usually pretty quiet, but this week so far has been fairly heinous. I can work through the fever and headache... but I'd rather have a nice night where no part of the network breaks. Ya, right. We have 30,000+ routers under management — something will go wrong at some point.

OK, I just logged on and I see that it has been slow so far today. I guess we got most of it out of our system over the past week.

Have a good Sunday, folks.

Update: the Fates laugh at me. I just spent three hours trying to figure out a routing problem on the core backbone, and what to do about it.

Yes, I fixed it. Bloody nuisance.

Posted by Russ at 03:56 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
May 05, 2008
Monday Miscellany

I expected that last post to generate a bit more by way of discussion. Perhaps I should have held it for a weekday instead of posting it on Saturday.

If there's one thing I've learned recently, it's that if you want a lot of visits and comments, put up a picture of a cat. Fortunately, I now have three of the furballs to photograph, and they are photogenic... but not every day is Cat Day here.

Oddly, however, this week is Cat Week for me, as all three are making trips to the vet, on three separate days. Mycah has followup blood work to be done, Packet has his first checkup with our vet (the amazing Dr. Jennifer Hodge of the Cat Clinic of Cary — if you're in the area, I recommend them highly), and Kismet, who went in for his checkup last week, has a followup for his upper respiratory infection.

Kismet had weepy eyes and was a bit sneezy last week; when he emptied his snotlocker on my shirt one afternoon, I decided to get him checked out a bit earlier than originally scheduled. Along with the respiratory symptoms, what appeared to be a swollen (perhaps infected) lymph node was found in his armpit. As a result, he's been on a twice-daily regimen of a broad-spectrum antibiotic.

Further, blood was taken for lab work, and the results show that he's got antibodies for corona virus, but it doesn't look like an active infection, but rather a past exposure. I informed the folks at the adoption center, just in case.

In any event, he seems pretty well. He's less sneezy, but the lump in his armpit hasn't gone away. We'll be getting that checked out at the followup visit tomorrow.

All that said, here's your daily dose of cat: Mycah taking her turn on the Gizzy quilt.

Posted by Russ at 01:45 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)
May 03, 2008
Go Fight Win

While covering the news last night on FNC's Red Eye (you are DVRing it nightly, are you not?) Fox Business Network reporter Tracy Byrnes defended cheerleading as a "sport."

Utter nonsense.

Cheerleading, Ice Dancing, and Synchronized Swimming may all be competitive endeavours requiring athletic ability, but they aren't sports.

Here are two simple rules of thumb by which you can tell if the activity in which you are engaged is a sport, when victory is determined by your score:

  • If a score is awarded based on judges' arbitrary opinion of the quality of your performance, it's not a sport.
  • If the score is determined solely by the completion of a specific task, it is a sport.


Posted by Russ at 03:25 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0)
March 06, 2008
Deprogramming Needed

Every time I say the words "my cane," it comes out sounding like "McCain."

I have got to stop watching the news.

Posted by Russ at 01:13 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
September 03, 2007
Labor Day

Today would feel more like a holiday if I didn't already have Mondays and Tuesdays off from work.

Posted by Russ at 10:36 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
July 12, 2007

There is something profoundly wrong about having one's first cup of coffee of the morning at 2:30 in the afternoon.

But it would be even more wrong to do without.

Posted by Russ at 03:00 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)
July 08, 2007
Place Your Bets

The scalding-hot water I accidentally spilled earlier today really hurts.

Or I bet it would, if I could actually feel my legs today.

We'll see about tomorrow.

Posted by Russ at 04:47 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
June 06, 2007
Sad, But True

I just said farewell to the plumber — he had installed a new commode here at the house.

This has been the highlight of my day.


I need to work on having better daily highlights.

Posted by Russ at 05:17 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)
June 05, 2007
Crated, Airholes Optional

Spending an afternoon in the Driver's License office has done absolutely nothing to improve my opinion of teenagers. Nothing at all.

I didn't like them when I was one — why should I now?

Posted by Russ at 04:47 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)
March 08, 2007
Fun Medical Fact #2

Well-known: many prescription medications have thoroughly-documented side effects. Prednisone, for instance, can cause sleeplessness.

Unknown: which of my meds causes gassiness.

. . . .

On further reflection, it might have been the coleslaw.

Posted by Russ at 12:48 PM | Comments (1)
February 14, 2007
Fun Medical Fact

Prednisone tastes horrible.

Really, truly horrible.

Posted by Russ at 03:13 PM
January 29, 2007
My Inner Child Reacts to a Session of Physical Therapy, 3

Ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow.


Posted by Russ at 11:10 PM | Comments (1)
January 25, 2007
My Inner Child Reacts to a Session of Physical Therapy, 2

"Is that what they call a 'bad touch'? 'Cause, it sure doesn't feel good."

Posted by Russ at 05:30 PM
January 22, 2007
My Inner Child Reacts to a Session of Physical Therapy

"Mo-o-o-ommy! The mean man hurt me!"

More later.

Posted by Russ at 07:46 PM
November 16, 2006
Random Observation #12

Unless you are actually Andy Serkis, do not attempt a "Gollum" voice in my presence. Especially at the office.

"My precioussss," my ass. I really hate having spit all over me.

Posted by Russ at 07:44 PM
September 11, 2006
Five Years

[This is a re-post, modified, from 9/11/2004]

One morning while working from home I turned on the TV in time to see one of the World Trade Towers burning. As I watched, an airliner slammed into the second tower; in that second, the world changed.

No, that's not right. The world didn't change — we all woke up.

As events unfolded, I could only think of the people trapped by the fire, and I wondered how the authorities would evacuate so many people. Helicopters on the roof, I figured.

Then the towers fell. A plane had crashed into the Pentagon, and everyone expected there would be more attacks.

Our "vacation from history" was over, and we were at war. Against whom didn't quite matter at that moment.

Remember the preliminary casualty estimates? Numbers upwards of 30,000 were cited that morning. The shock I felt could only have been the merest shade of the horror and despair felt by the families of the victims watching on TV, wondering if their loved ones had escaped... or wondering if the body falling from the tower was their family member.

Five years later, we count ourselves fortunate that "only" 3,000 died on 9/11.

From that day and in the years since, we have learned of acts of incredible courage and steadfastness, starting with Todd Beemer and his fellow passengers on Flight 93, continued by the people who stopped Richard Reid's potentially deadly shoe-bomb plot, carried on by men leaping into the darkness over Afghanistan, with leaders like GEN Tommy Franks, and continuing today with all our armed forces.

We are also fortunate that the man in the White House is a man of moral courage and intestinal fortitude, who knows that doing the right thing should not be subject to an opinion poll.

Since 9/11, the war on terrorists and terrorist states has gone very well overall, with few mistakes and a blessedly low casualty rate for our soldiers. We have also been lucky enough — and good enough — not to have suffered another attack approaching the magnitude of 9/11.

The lesson I take from all this is that we can never again allow ourselves to nap through history; it has a way of catching up with us, and when it does, it will take all our skill, intelligence and courage to face it down. The bad guys, present and future, may get lucky again some day, but real Americans are made of stern stuff. No matter the setbacks we may face in the future, we will ultimately win.

Posted by Russ at 03:05 PM | Comments (3)
July 05, 2006
Unpleasant Coincidence

I met a really nice person today... who happens to have the same name as a noted-by-the-24-hour-news-cycle murderer of recent years.

That would put a cramp in your style, I'm thinking.

Posted by Russ at 08:00 PM
July 03, 2006
You Know (Part 13)

You know, if you have a broken foot, it might be a wise thing to do to not leave clodhopper shoes laying about in places where they are not usually stored.

Half an hour ago I accidentally walked into one such shoe. I think I saw stars.

I should probably be institutionalized for my own protection.

Posted by Russ at 07:13 PM | Comments (2)
April 26, 2006
In Case You Didn't Already Know

When I get done with work at night and drive my Evil SUV home, there is usually a CD in the player, but occasionally I switch the radio on. Scanning through the channels one night a couple weeks ago, I tuned in to the show "Coast to Coast AM" with George Noory.

Having listened to the show several times since that first encounter, I've come to a conclusion about the program, its guests, and its callers.

Those people are absolutely, unquestionably and incontrovertably friggin' insane.

Posted by Russ at 11:23 AM | Comments (1)
March 01, 2006
You Know (Part 12)

You know, it's probably a good idea to let your dermatologist deal with....

No, no, no — stop right there. This is too thoroughly and disgustingly pseudo-medical. "Puking readers" is not my idea of a good time.

I can state for the record, however, that neither pain nor major orifices were even tangentially involved in the incident which I forbear from describing. Just... eeewww.

Update: As big as a nickel, but spherical. I kid you not.

Posted by Russ at 02:55 PM
December 25, 2005
You Know (Part 11)

You know it's really and truly the 21st Century when:

- you have to put your phone on "mute"
- so that you can gobble down microwavable Thai food
- and not offend the people you're talking to in England
- while you troubleshoot a router in Poland
- on Christmas night.

Update: But... where are the flying cars?

Posted by Russ at 08:58 PM | Comments (1)
December 06, 2005
You Know (Part 10)

You know your medical condition is either disfiguring or embarassing — or both — when the treatment consists of a mix of antibiotics and prescription ointment.

And when the ointment tube has a prominent reminder not to get it in your eyes? Trust me on this: they mean it.

Ugly photo follows.

It's a good thing I work second shift — that thing shouldn't be allowed to see the light of day.

Keep your John Merrick jokes to yourself.

Posted by Russ at 05:40 PM | Comments (2)
November 16, 2005
You Know (Part 9)

You know it can't possibly be a good thing when the first words the doctor utters are "Holy cow."

Posted by Russ at 04:40 PM | Comments (1)
October 27, 2005
You Know (Part 8)

You know the commute is a bad one when later descriptions of it necessitate any use whatsoever of the word "helicopter."

Posted by Russ at 03:43 PM
October 26, 2005
Random Observation #11

Bad: having an earworm.

Worse: having this earworm.

Posted by Russ at 04:15 PM | Comments (2)
October 07, 2005
You Know (Part 7.1)

You know it's been an even rougher night when, less than two minutes before the end of your shift, a call comes in that you have to take because it's coming in on your shift... and the call goes for five stinking hours.

Posted by Russ at 06:14 AM | Comments (1)
October 06, 2005
You Know (Part 7)

You know it's been a rough night doing tech support when you count "complete lack of spontaneously combusting routers and switches" as one of your most stunning successes.

Posted by Russ at 11:57 PM | Comments (1)
October 01, 2005
Random Observation #10

No-Doz? It really works.

Really, really works.

Posted by Russ at 06:26 AM | Comments (5)
September 06, 2005
Random Observation #9

If I can't see that you have a dinky little cellphone inserted in your ear while you apparently talk to yourself, don't blame me if I treat you as either senile or deranged.

I mean, c'mon people, wear a sign or a pointy hat or something.

And watch out where you're walking.

Posted by Russ at 07:47 PM | Comments (2)
August 26, 2005
Random Observation #8

Generally speaking, it might be the wiser course to give the cat her foul-tasting medication before getting dressed to go to work.

Cat hair – even black cat hair – does not blend in with black pants.

Posted by Russ at 03:31 PM
August 23, 2005
Random Observation #7

Hot... melty cheese... a slice of onion... spicy mustard... man, there isn't anything better than hot pastrami on rye.

Except for paper-thin rare roast beef on fresh sourdough.

Oh... and a vast array of non-sandwich "better things." But as sandwiches go, pastrami rocks.

Posted by Russ at 12:58 PM | Comments (4)
July 26, 2005
Random Observation #6

When the label on the milk carton says "best before such-and-such date," they really mean it.

Posted by Russ at 02:07 PM
July 05, 2005
You Know (Part 6)

You know it's one of those days when the minute you step out the front door, a bird decides to play "poo-poo bombardier" on your shirt.

Posted by Russ at 06:16 PM | Comments (2)
June 30, 2005
Random Observation #5

You know how they say, with regard to alcohol consumption, not to mix grape and grain?

Well, for coffee consumption, I'd advise that you not mix nut and berry flavored syrups.

Trust me on this one.

Posted by Russ at 03:38 PM | Comments (1)
June 17, 2005
Random Observation #4

The cat just stuck her cold wet nose into the back of my knee. It makes me jump, every time, and she knows it.

I guess there's only so much fun you can have without opposable thumbs.

Posted by Russ at 08:41 PM
June 16, 2005
Random Observation #3

The longest 10 minutes of the day can be found between the start and the end of Mr. Coffee's brewing cycle.

"More coffee for me, boss, 'cause I'm not as messed up as I want to be."

Posted by Russ at 09:57 AM
June 13, 2005
Random Observation #2

I would never under any circumstances bake a quiche.

A slice or two of refrigerator pie, on the other hand, can make a tasty and filling breakfast.

Posted by Russ at 11:00 AM
June 10, 2005
Random Observation

Where did this hair on my ears come from?

Update: And the eyebrows... hokey smokes, I'm just a sapho-juice addiction and a bad haircut away from being able to impersonate Freddie Jones in the 1984 version of Dune.

Posted by Russ at 02:59 PM | Comments (1)
June 09, 2005
You Know (Part 5)

You know you're getting old when your little brother turns 42, as mine did yesterday.

OK, OK, so 43 isn't old, but it's older than I've ever been before.

If I'm not careful, I'll degenerate into doing a permanent Grampa Simpson routine.

Dear Mr. President, there are too many states these days. Please eliminate three. I am NOT a crackpot.
The Swedish are coming! The Swedish are coming!
You never know what people are capable of. I never thought I could shoot down a German plane. But last year, I proved myself wrong.
We can't bust heads like we used to. But we have our ways. One trick is to tell stories that don't go anywhere. Like the time I caught the ferry to Shelbyville. I needed a new heel for m'shoe. So I decided to go to Morganville, which is what they called Shelbyville in those days. So I tied an onion to my belt. Which was the style at the time. Now, to take the ferry cost a nickel, and in those days, nickels had pictures of bumblebees on 'em. Gimme five bees for a quarter, you'd say. Now where was I... oh yeah. The important thing was that I had an onion tied to my belt, which was the style at the time. You couldn't get white onions, because of the war. The only thing you could get was those big yellow ones...

Posted by Russ at 11:23 AM | Comments (3)
February 11, 2005
You Know (Part 4)

You know you're having still another bad day when you drop your keys, and as you squat down to pick them up, a tearing sound is heard coming from the region of the seat of your pants.

I'm not saying that's what happened to me today... but, did it just get drafty in here?

Posted by Russ at 02:29 PM | Comments (2)
February 09, 2005
You Know (Part 3)

You know you're having yet another bad day when the shopping cart you're quickly pushing through the parking lot catches a wheel on a defect in the asphault and tips over, spilling your freshly-acquired groceries to the pavement.

I'm not saying that's what happened to me today... mainly, because it didn't. Not yet, at any rate. But it might be unwise for me to tempt fate.

Posted by Russ at 04:23 PM | Comments (1)
February 08, 2005
You Know (Part 2)

You know you're having another bad day when you lock your vehicle only to then notice the keys still in the ignition and your wallet sitting on the dashboard, and subsequently spend your designated lunch period trying to get back into your vehicle without even the benefit of being able to buy a wire clothes hanger.

I'm not saying that's what happened to me today... but MacGyver would have been proud of the uses to which a removable non-retracting car radio antenna can be put. I didn't even have to bend it to pop open the rear hatch.

Posted by Russ at 07:45 PM
February 07, 2005
You Know

You know you're having a bad day when you're nearly run off the road and killed by a school bus.

I'm not saying that's what happened to me today... but if I ever catch the driver of bus #1165, I'll probably end up being arrested for assault and/or battery.

Posted by Russ at 04:53 PM | Comments (1)