A Week of TV

Oct 2, 2002

A new season of network television began about mid-September and, as
normal, I’ve been watching. I’ve been checking in on old favorites,
attempting to see which got better and which
jumped the shark“.
I’ve also been looking for that new show that can sink its hooks
into me and not let go.

What follows is a quick run down – show by show – of what I’ve sampled
over the last couple of weeks and what I thought about each. It’s high
time I have an entry that delves a bit into pop culture.


The Sopranos
The star show of HBO and for
good reason. Season 4 has started a bit slowly but that’s par for the
course. The first three shows have been happy to present conflict after
conflict. However, nearly none of those problems have been resolved.
I like the relaxed pace of the show, season after season. Turn on the
heat, bring the water to a simmer, and then, and only then, let the fireworks
begin. I have no doubt that when the water boils, I’ll be watching.

Curb Your Enthusiasm
A lighthearted comedy about the “real-life” trials of Larry David, the
creator of Seinfeld. It’s quirky and the only show from the Seinfeld
crew (the shows from the individual actors were unbearable) that
is (or was in the case of those other shows) noteworthy. There is
a healthy dose of Seinfeld humor here (Larry himself shares a lot
with Seinfeld’s character George – there’s even an episode about
that fact). From what I understand, there’s is no set script
for the actors, just simple situations. The somewhat improvisational
banter lends the show a different cadence, one that no doubt kept
it from public TV. Oh well, it will have to do as the funniest show
on cable.

The Practice
I haven’t seen this one in a year. I just wanted to waive goodbye to
and old favorite that just doesn’t fit into my time schedule anymore. Buh-bye.


Drew Carey
I still like Drew’s little show but somehow I feel it is on its way down.
It used to be outragously funny, with cute little dancing numbers and
fun little nuances. Now, it’s just good. I hope the trend does not

Whose Line is it Anyway?
This is one of those shows that I’ve always had trouble finding time
to watch but always enjoy. This season is no different. Its one of
the few comedies where I actually laugh out loud. I can’t imagine
saying anything nicer.


Frasier is still a good, solid comedy. I don’t know if I’ll always set aside
time specifically to watch it but, when I do, I know there will be something
for me. 24, a show that got my
award for best new show last year (you know the wonderful Kensies) may
have something to say about my Frasier viewing schedule when it begins
competing for my time in late October.

Hidden Hills
A show I’ve watched only because it follows Frasier. Ok there’s one more
It’s surprising cute, with the second show being better than the first. That’s
a good trend.


My Wife and Kids
This is another solid comedy, and one that I rarely fit into the wife and
I’s viewing schedule. Everyone seems to associate this show with the
Cosby show because both families are African American. The association
should be made because both are really great comedies for the whole

My favorite show after the Sopranos. A quirky town with some
very quirky characters that reminds me a whole bunch of
Nothern Exposure. If you haven’t watched this show before,
do so. You really don’t know what you are missing.

The West Wing
Despite the fact that I’m a republican, I really like this show. Heck,
it features a democrat as president that even I’d vote for (yep,
only in Hollywood is this possible). I think it has something
about the fact that he has a pair of balls. Maybe Al Gore should
look for his. In any case, I was bit worried that recent events
would make any fictional topics basically irrelevant. I hope
(and so far it seems) that fear is unfounded.


Another solid start to the most consistently good comedy of the last decade.
I won’t likely miss an episode for a while but, jeez, Ross and Rachel
get together already. C’mon guys, you know you wanna give us
one more season. You know you do.

One of my favorite new shows from last year (and now one of my
favorite shows, period) returns for another season in a much better
time slot. Hurrah. Maybe this show will get the recognition that
it deserves.

The last couple seasons of this one seem to define the phrase “jump the
shark” (maybe it should be jump the GSW). Most of the main characters
have spent the time jumping ship (I still don’t understand how they
can turn down the weekly paycheck), leaving little in their wake. The first
episode of this season
was great, though. They better keep them coming if they want the wife
to stop nodding off in the middle.

Another group of whiners left in the middle of nowhere to fend for themselves.
As the seasons wear on, I feel more shame for enjoying it but I still do.
All reality shows should take an extra cue from this one.
Eating bugs = drama. Take that to the bank.

The premiere was a typical episode – maybe too typical.
Nonetheless, I grew quite fond of the show last season. Neat take
on an interesting premise equals a modern day mystery.

Push Nevada
Odd, odd show. The story, or really all the stuff they don’t tell you,
is intriguing. Lots of odd stuff is going on and the main character
knows nothing. I may stick with a while; I may not. I’m mostly
concerned that I won’t know any more weeks from now than
I know right now. Stop drawing it out and get to the point already!
Unfortunately, the current ratings may never allow the mystery
to be revealed. Now that would be a bummer.


Mix the some old west bandits with spaceships. It was surprisingly decent,
as these types of shows go. I wouldn’t mind catching another episode but,
given that it’s shown on Friday night, I may never do so.

John Doe
The episode I caught (which was the first) was pretty decent. The only
problem is that it looks like a show you may need to follow to fit the
pieces together. Like Firefly above, its timeslot virtually assures
me that I will do nothing of the sort.

For those wondering how I could possibly watch all this stuff, I wonder myself.
My poor VCR gets quite a workout. Let’s just say that we don’t watch much
miscellaneous television. There’s always too much waiting on tape.
It’s about high time I get myself a

by | Categories: t.v./movies | 2 Comments

Car Daze

Oct 1, 2002

My Trans Am and I are buddies, despite the fact that cars are, by
definition, female (don’t tell the wife). Unfortunately, my buddy
has run into some trouble of late.

It all started this weekend. Given that my car was dirty, and
the knowledge that I’ve been
that fact for a little while, I decided to
spend some time giving it a clean shave. A trip to the car wash,
some vacuming, and a splash or two of glass and tire clean later
and the car was looking good. Vroom, vroom – happiness abounds.

All that cleanliness did not go unpunished. Wandering out to my
vehicle Monday morning, I noticed something quite distressing:
someone had been kind enough to decorate the side of my car with
a permanent black magic marker. I did not appreciate their artistic
talent, or lack thereof. Great work. Just wonderful, I mused.
I hope to God I can get it out of my white paint. Thankfully, a
mixture of bug and tar cleaner and a little tender use
of brake fluid removed the squiggly line.

(By the way, I learned the the brake fluid trick on the night of my
wedding. The festive invitees of our wedding were kind of enough
to use shoe polish to help celebrate the day,
despite the fact that shoe polish is just a special form of paint. Brake fluid will
work but be careful, its not good for your paint job. Needless to
say, the old Mercedes still said “Just Married” on the trunk when I
sold it several years ago.)

The whole incident pissed me off but I’m over it. I’ll be keeping
a closer eye on my vehicle from now on, particularly when it’s parked
on the street. If I’m ever given the opportunity to avenge
this heiness act, I’d know I’m more creative than physical violence.

A half an hour later, I was finally off to work, happy to put it
all behind me. The scene that awaited me when I approached the
car for a trip to lunch did not put a smile on my face. The
landscaping guys had been hard at work mowing the grass and I,
unfortunately, had parked right next to the building. The vehicle
that I spent a couple of hours cleaning this weekend, was now
partially green.

Thankfully, the drive home that night reminded me why I purchased the
car in the first place. Because of my late arrival and matching exit
from work, there was little traffic to fight. The night air was cool,
the sky was clear, the T-tops were off, and the radio was playing
some sweet tunes. Glad to have you back little buddy. Hope you are
feeling better.

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Sep 26, 2002

Can you return a faulty Kleenex
box? Really, can you? The Kleenex box
in the bathroom stopped working properly a couple weeks ago and
we wait it out, hoping for the arrival of the bottom of the box. Why?
Well, because its just Kleenex.

The tissues no longer poke their head out of the top, just tempting
their use. No, our box now forces you to rummage to the bottom, grabbing
at the thin paper hankie with your finger tips. Is there no justice in this
world? Would the cashier not laugh in derision if I brought it back
for a refund?

The last week has been pretty normal, as normal times go. Saturday was
spent celebrating my father-in-law’s birthday with a
dinner at home and a viewing of
Monsters, Inc. Sunday was relaxing, filled
with a trip to the mall with a friend and his offspring and a viewing of
the newest episode of the Sopranos.

Speaking of Monsters, Inc.,
it’s another brilliant stroke by
a company that just can’t seem to release a bad movie. Each and
every movie is a lovingly crafted sundae, covered in technical syrup for
the geeks among us and topped with wonderful story jimmies for
everyone else. The excellence carries over to the
which is just bursting with sugary extras — commentary, a tour of the studios,
a making of, you name it. Don’t miss the little short with the
birds. It’s just another example of their talent.

Speaking of the Sopranos, the show is just heating up.
Trouble is brewing and Tony’s on the prowl. This season looks
to be bit darker than the last three. The kids are growing up and
calling dad on what he is. The gang isn’t a solid or stable as it
was. The conflict within will surely breed another great series of
shows, a series that displays the best television has to offer. I can’t
help but think that the freedom
HBO offers is a breeding ground
for artistic talent (see
The Wire and
Curb Your Enthusiasm
for more examples). HBO has become well worth the price of admission.

I greeted the rain of today with just a bit of joy, an emotion that any
rain near my house would be unfamiliar with. The land is thirsty
and I think I miss the change in weather that the rain brings.
As a big admirer of the sun, I’m no fan of rain; but the break in
a week or month that a spout of rain can bring is sometimes refreshing.
Maybe it makes the sun shine brighter. If nothing else, it makes
the grass shine greener.

Jeez, look at me getting all sappy. I better go get myself a

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Method to His Madness?

Sep 22, 2002

Bush has a wild hair up his ass. Everywhere you turn you can hear
someone on his staff banging on the drums about a war
with Iraq. It’s inevitable. It’s required.
Bush is a crazy man, or so it may

Howard Finneman, who wrote the article linked above has a
which is interesting if nothing else. He makes the case that
the efforts of the Bush administration to
begin military action in Iraq are not the acts of a desperate
warmonger and not the acts of a country happy to start a war.
All the chain rattling may be part truth and part political ploy.

Mr. Finneman makes a strong, if not interesting case. Junior Bush
has of history of reckless abandon, followed by tough but reasonable
bargaining. It happened in his term as governor and it happened
in Afghanastan. Is it happening again?

Maybe; maybe not.
There’s no denying that the United States is putting Iraq under pressure.
The past several weeks have been filled with growing setiment within the
Bush camp that Iraq is the next destination of our military.
Troops are
moving; here we

Then, Bush surprises the world with an excellent
We don’t want to go it alone. We await the actions of the UN. We want
the support of the world. He paints the UN into a corner: enforce your
rules or get out of the way.

For the first time in a while, the United States acted as a leader, not just a participant, in the United Nations. The idea is a pleasing one, and one that
shouldn’t seem like past history. Forcing the United Nations to your will is
no easy task but Bush layed out the cards: if you don’t lead, we will..

The world reaction was surprising. All of a sudden Saudi Arabia opens
Countries begin lining up in support of a strong
UN resolution backed up by force. Most surprising of all, Iraq submits
to weapon inspections. We must appease this madman before
while he is being reasonable.

How does Bush react? He reacts with more than a little
Let’s see it. We are not backing down from our plan. Hey Congress,
get over

It’s all too soon to see how it will shake out but, for now, the signs are
encouraging. All of a sudden – and maybe just for the moment,
Mr. Hussein
cause and effect. Continue to block weapons inpsectors and your next visitors
will be packing military hardware with a letters “US” on them.
As noted by William Saletan in a recent
article on the

If you think that an American invasion of Iraq is unwise and that the world
would be better off with unfettered U.N. weapons inspections backed by the
serious threat of force, you’re probably right. But if you get what you want,
thank Bush.

You don’t have to say what you mean to get what you want. It’s an interesting
theory and one that seems to be supported more and more by facts.
If nothing else, it shows that, unlike his predecessor, it helps to have advisors
other than those that spend an inordinate amount of time on their knees.

by | Categories: politics | 1 Comment

Geeking Out

Sep 13, 2002

To a geek such as I, getting a new computer somehow feels like a rite of
passage. Out with the old; in with the new. Time to move on to better things.

It also yields more than its share of nostalgia, reminding me of those times where hard drives were in expressed in terms of megabytes and a floppy disk was actually useful. The first PC I actually owned (actually co-owned with my wife, before she was my wife) was a Packard Bell 436 SX 33. 33 mhz of blazing power, coupled with an almost 150 mb hard drive and a fresh version of Windows 3.1. Plug in the hampster and watch it go. I’m sure it was a stud in its time but now, almost 10 years later, the average bank clock is probably more powerful.

The new PC on the block will be my fourth and, like its forebearers, it will
be quite a step up indeed. It doesn’t actually exist yet, but all the parts
but the case sit next to me at the moment. I merely await the shell to
house all of this. Here’s the break down of its components.
Be forewarned, only the geek may apply.

Case: CA305 ATX Case Tower
I went a just a little wild on this one. Cool cut out side panel, stylish
duds, and a neon light highlight the package. It should be great to show
off to my geek friends. Those who not so inclined to gawk at cords
will wonder why I’d even want to see inside in the first place. I think they
miss the point.

Motherboard: EP-8K5A3+
The mother board is one place where I splurged just a bit. Take
a more
Epox board and add a couple of cool little extras like
6 channel audio, a built in network card, and 6 USB ports. All of the
additions should save me some work, allowing me leave my soundcard,
network card, and USB hub in my old computer.
It also comes with a cool little RAID controller, which I’ll probably never use,
but I can always hope that it keeps the ants away.


Beefy enough and its fits right into the sweet spot of the price vs performance
chart (where the latest and greatest is much more expensive than the next, normally small, step down). According to
benchmarks, the little bugger
favorably with the latest Pentium 4 processors, settling in somewhere
between a 2.1 GHz and 2.4 GHz Pentium 4.
That little note is important to me because the processor itself runs at a
mere 1.733 Ghz and I promised myself that my next CPU would have a
“2” in front it. Mission accomplished, at least in theory (and in
AMD‘s marketing).

Memory: Crucial Micron 512MB PC2100 DDR RAM
Speedy ram and good chunk of it. It’s not the fastest you can buy or the fastest
that my motherboard supports but it’ll do fine, particularly since I don’t
plan on making it cry from overclocking (promises, promises).


I’ve been waiting to purchase one of these for quite a while. Since I
came in almost $200 under my planned purchase price (thanks Chris),
I found a way to fit it in for a very reasonable price. Now I can finally see
what I’ve been missing on the
DVD and paint by numbers
using the extras from lastest Disney movie (mom will be so proud).

Hard Drive:

Western Digital Special Edition 7200 rpm 120 GB

Wow. That’s a lot of space; a whole lot of space. The mind boggles at
the possibilities that fill the void. Take 10 gb away because I’m going
to partition it off and place
Red Hat
on it. The rest will be filled
with the usual assortment of games, mp3s, pictures, and games.
I plan on picking up a digital video camera sometime before the child
pops out and I’d guess my future video sessions will fill some of the
room in as well. I’ve said this before (and was wrong) and I’ll say it
again (and be wrong again) but I just can’t imagine filling all that space.
Given my history, that leaves it about 6 months.

Video Card: Radeon 8500
This is one of the few components I plan on bringing over from my current
PC. It’s no longer the fastest thing on the block (actually, it never was),
but it holds its own, even under the stress of today’s latest games.
The new PC should enhance its performance, as the CPU will finally be
able to keep up with the number crunching of the card.
Besides, my use of its built in dual monitor support is one of the coolest talking
points of my current PC. I’d hate to lose that.

Sound Card: SoundBlaster Live
The sound card is still a bit up in the air. At the moment, I plan on leaving
it behind. However, if I’m not happy with the sound on the motherboard,
I will quickly bring the Live card over. After all, something sweet
needs to power my rather expensive speakers.

Monitors: Two 19”, one
the other from Dell
38” of radiation. Ahh. Who needs the sun?

Speakers: Klipsch Pro Media 4.1
The best PC speakers money can buy, or at least they were until
these came out. There’s something wrong when your PC speakers sound better than
those attached to your home stereo.

That which was left behind: Yamaha 6x CD burner, Iomega Zip drive
I’ve decided to leave both my CD burner and Zip drive on my current,
and quite capable computer. Given that everything is networked together
there really isn’t a good reason to saddle the new PC with either. Now
I can burn CDs while I play games and save the IDE slot that the Zip
drive would claim for something else. Sounds like a good deal with me.

I expect the general speed of my computer to change pretty drastically.
It’s not just the CPU. The speed of the bus, the speed of the memory,
and the fact that the new motherboard, unlike the old, actually supports
ATA 133, giving the hard drive an extra boost, are all contributing factors.
In fact, I have some homework to do to make sure my current configuration
is benchmarked so I properly compare the present with the near future.

That’s it (if you aren’t a techie and are still with me, wake up; I’m about
to end this thing). It’s time to move onto bigger and faster things.
It’ll be a blast to be at least near the bleeding edge for a bit. Too bad
it only lasts about a month. Then it will just be another slow PC hanging
on the coattails of the next big thing. Such is the life of a hardware geek.

by | Categories: technology | 1 Comment

September 11th, 2001: a day I both want to forget and remember.
A year later, some of us are listless, some of us are full of sorrow,
some of us are angry, and some of us are all of the above.
Browsing the internet turns up its share of
tributes and

careful reminders
, stirring up the raw emotions of that fateful day.

I’ll never forget it; I won’t forget the anguish and fear.
I’ll never forget how far away my wife felt; 40 miles seemed like forever.
I won’t forget our eager embrace later that afternoon.
I’ll never forget that many Americans never had the chance to hold their
loved ones again.

I’ll also never forget the rage I felt. This was an act of war.
Our response needed to be, and certainly was, quick and
efficient. The guilty must be punished. America would not stand silently
by and watch these events unfold on

A year later, what I really want to know is did the terrorists of the world
learn a lesson?
Do they understand that they did not divide but unite us?
Do they understand that we are the sleeping giant, ready and
willing to use our might? America is not to trifled with.

I can’t pretend to understand the thought process of a terrorist.
I can’t pretend to understand how anyone could use one innocent
life to harm another or take their own life in the process.
It is totally and utterly beyond me. But I hope
they can understand a simple lesson.
Any attack against our nation requires a swift and violent response.
You cannot get the best of us.
Did we make our point? Was Iraq taking notes?

Despite the fact that he’d probably tell you different, I bet Osama Bin Laden is
not nearly as comfortable within the hole he cowers as he was
roaming around Afghanistan, spewing his lies to eager ears.
His network of bastards are injured and on the run. His base of power
is destroyed. But can evil learn; can evil regret?

I originally wrote this to record my feelings on this day – one year removed.
You know what? I’m still angry; angry as hell.

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Sep 8, 2002

Take a peek at your hands; they really are incredible pieces of work. Five
nice long digits each, an extremely flexible muscular structure,
and more joints than you shake a stick at make up one of the most
impressive pieces of the human body and
one of the most impressive tools in existence. Add in that whole
opposable thumb thing and, well, what a cool thing I have attached to
each of my arms.

They are even more incredible when they are attached to your child and you
are peering at them for the first time through the wonders of a sonogram.
One of the first recognizable shots of my baby, in fact, included one
of those hands seemingly waving to and fro, welcoming some visitors
to its little world for just a couple of moments.

What a world it was. Images of our child faded in and out. There’s the
head. There’s the heart. Are those toes? Is that a foot? A frontal view
peered deeply into its eye sockets. A side profile was marked with a nose so
cute that it could only have come from my wife.

The thing that got me the most was the fact that it moved. The arms
moved. The legs moved. The heart pumped away. At one point, it covered
its face with its arms, playing a child’s game even then. This wasn’t some
abstract thing poking at my wife from inside her belly. This was a human being.
This was alive.

We were so happy to include the mothers in the experience. They quietly
stood by, oooing and aahing at all the right moments; eyes lost in the picture
on the screen. This just wasn’t possible when they shared the baby making
experience. Now that it is, neither lacked enthusiasm for seeing it first
hand (they both showed up about 45 minutes early). Moms, thanks for coming.

We wrapped up the session by attempting to determine the sex of the baby.
For those that have been following along closely, you may remember that
the wife and I
on whether or not we really wanted to know.
In this one case, I prevailed (or at least she’s allowing me to think so).
Unfortunately, if I’ve passed anything on to the child at such an early
age, it appears that I’ve given it a bit of my stubbornness (or did it get it
from its mom?). We were ready and waiting for the announcement but the
little tike wanted nothing of the sort, crossing it legs in defiance (and
what cute little legs they were). Adjusting the position of the belly and,
by association, the wife didn’t change this.
Just my luck. I get my way and the baby takes her side!

We waited a couple of minutes and the wife happily removed the gallons of
water from her bladder, hoping the kid would move over and give us a good peek.
It did, but only a little bit, leaving the result as much guesswork as science.
Still, there was something there on the screen; something there that could
give us a look into the future. It looked like a fifth extremity. It looked like
a boy.

by | Categories: family | 1 Comment

Labor Weekend

Sep 6, 2002

What a busy, busy labor day weekend. The wife finally talked me into
completing a
house project
we started quite a while ago. For those that don’t rememeber,
the project in question was brought about by a small scale war inside of our
closet – a war that neither the wife or I witnessed first hand. Our lack of
attendance, however, didn’t free us from the job of cleaning up the aftermath.

As a result, the closet enjoyed a nice demolition and rebuilding project
more than a month ago. Unfortunately (or fortunately, if you ask the wife), the
closet renovations meant that, all of a sudden, the colors of our bedroom
walls didn’t match our closet at all. The closet was now a nice mixture
of burgandy red and light grey which, not by accident, matched the
bedroom comforter perfectly. The bedroom itself, however, was a
beautiful shade dingy yellow.

Actually, it was the dingy yellow from hell. You might think that hell is painted
with a red brush but my personal hell is probably painted with antique white, the
slightly off-white of the ages.
Somebody, somewhere probably dropped some yellow paint into a vat of white and said, “Wow, perfect.” After all, who doesn’t want walls that look like a mix
of dried parchment and the hair of a ninety year old ex-blonde who hasn’t
quite lost that yellow tinge. We could have pasted the original copy
of the
on the wall and not have been able to tell where it ends and the wall began.

Apparently, antique white was once popular, particularly with the older
crowd. Since we bought the house from a little old lady, I suppose it’s
no surprise that the house was covered with the stuff. That and the
obligatory “old person” smell just came with the territory.
I still have nightmares of trying to rid the house of that stink. I had
always assumed that smell came from a nasty concoction of Ben-Gay.
In this case, it turned out to be mothballs – mounds and mounds of mothballs.
I found them everywhere. Closets, cabinets, the crawl space – no place was
safe from the mothball infection. I found them for months after we purchased the house. But I digress…

Here’s a tip for would-be painters. Never — I repeat, never —
paint a room two different colors. It’s simple multiplication.
Two colors means double the taping, double the painting,
and double the waiting. I suppose,
if you get technical, the physical area doesn’t change (not that I wouldn’t
have sworn it did over the weekend), but where you would normally put two
coats of paint, you now have four. Waiting for four separate coats of
paint to dry is as exciting as it sounds. It made for a long weekend where I
can’t actually say I worked hard, I just worked over and over again.

When it was all complete, the wife and I congratulated ourselves on a job well
done. The room now looks worthy to be our nightly resting place,
making the end result worth the toil. Now its
on to the baby’s room. I wonder how long I can put that one off
(hint – I bet it won’t be more than 4 months).

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Bumps in the Night

Aug 30, 2002

Last Saturday, the wife and I stayed in and watched the
NASCAR race,
which took place in Bristol, Tennessee.
Bristol, for the NASCAR
impaired, is a tiny track – about 1/2 mile in length – where they
crowd a field of 43 cars into a bowl and tell them to go.

If you don’t get the sport of NASCAR racing, Bristol is the place
to start. No room to run and lots of guys looking to do so.
Paint is traded in every turn, where bumping and grinding is not the
exception, but the norm. Cars spin, tempers flare, and more than one
driver gives another the one finger salute. The highlight of this
race was the fact that my favorite driver,
Jeff Gordon,
gave the leader a tap in the back with two laps to go, pushed him out of
the way, and finished up front for the

first time in a while

But that was nothing compared to the bump that awaited me. See, the
has begun. It started just a couple of weeks ago, with the wife uttering
oohs and ahhs occasionally, spreading her eyes wide at the activity inside.
There was a time where she wasn’t quite sure if the movement she felt was
gas or child, but, as the weeks passed, the thumps and wallops inside her have
become more pronounced and more frequent.

The sad side of this, from the father’s perspective, is that I don’t get
to share in it. Whenever she feels any movement, the wife is quick
to grab my hand, place it upon her tummy, and anxiously await a signal from
me that I do, in fact, feel it.

“Did you feel that?” she asks.


Saturday that all changed. Laying down on the bed after the race, my wife
revealed her belly to me and placed my hand on it. We’ve been doing this
for a while and she had reported a recent spat of activity.

Lo and behold the child gave quite a bump to the center of her baby carrier.
I got to experience a kind of quickening of my own. Contact was made and
won’t soon be forgotten.

Jenn made the cute observation that the child was giving me a high five after
the race (if so, babe, we now know who his or her favorite driver is). Whatever
it was, I was just glad to be there. This baby thing becomes more real
every day.

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In Need of a Hand Job

Aug 29, 2002

I love
Don’t get me wrong. I understand they are bad for the
environment. I know the farmers and plant life of the world need water to
fall from the sky. I’m aware that it that it throws a bit of a wrench into
the normal workings of the world. But rain has never been my thing,
particularly in the summer.

No rain means I rarely wash my car. No rain means my
grass doesn’t grow; my lawn mower is free to sulk in the shed.
No rain means I awaken to the sun in the sky,
nary a cloud in sight. No rain means weather suited for
softball and picnics.

But this is getting out of hand.

The grass in my yard cries out like a bowl of
Cap’n Crunch
when I walk upon it.
The trees in the yard have given up hope, wilting under the pressure and
often tossing their leaves to the ground in protest.
Water restrictions
are getting tighter and tighter, halting me from saving my poor
old grass and, even worse, giving my car the proper cleaning that it deserves.

Keeping my car clean is a bit of an obsession;
an obsession that I started long ago. My first car, a 1984 Ford Escort was
probably the cleanest 1984 Ford Escort on earth. It was clean inside and
out. (Has anyone else seen a clean 1984 Ford Escort? What about a brown one
in 1992?)
It became quite a badge of honor for me and an eventual annoyance for
my wife (who wants a hubby that critiques their car’s cleanliness every
time they enter it?).

The habit of keeping my car spic and spam continued through the years and
a second car. Not too long ago I purchased a
new vehicle, a 1998 Pontiac
Trans Am
(it is still new to me). The cleaning gods rejoiced.

I can’t say I’ve kept it as clean as I like. The problem with a reasonably
expensive car is that you need a job to pay for it. Factor in a house and
a wife and I just don’t have the time to spend with it that I did.
I have my lazy moments, but by and large the sports car has looked sporty
more often than not.

Our current drought has thrown its own tool into my normal cleaning plans.
No longer can I lovingly caress my white little vehicle back to health with
a shammy. No longer can I clean every crease and crevice. I’m relegated
to the community car wash, where even a manual wash cannot get the
Trans Am shine to my satisfaction.

I suppose that other people worry about important things, like the reservoirs
being low or keeping the greens green. But the
of today and yesterday has started a bit of musing.
I’ve got to get out there and wash that car. It’s filthy.

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