November 29, 2006

Confession Without Guilt

November is almost over and I've accomplished not a single damn word on either of my NaNoWriMo projects. Giant Evil Space Robots remain locked inside my skull and the other story awaits some literary breathing space.

Where I work now, my normal schedule is cyclical. I have a very busy week, followed by an insanely busy week. That rhythm is broken only during the rush leading to the turnover of the fiscal year, with a lull - such as it is - until the rush at the end/beginning of the calendar year. This year there was no letup. The ramp-up started in mid-August and we haven't slowed down yet.

Professionally, it's been fun. It's certainly not been boring. Add in the many things that have been going on in our personal lives, and Rocket Jones has been neglected. At some point, things will calm down a little and I can get back to tending my little garden of inanity like I used to. Until then, this place hasn't been abandoned, even though the posting frequency is way down.

"Always leave 'em wanting more." Someone famous said that. Maybe Linda Lovelace. I forget.

Posted by: Ted at 09:44 PM | category: Square Pegs
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The semester is almost over and today I had my final critique for my drawing class, therefore I have all my drawings back and have uploaded them. Take a look if you want and leave a comment.

Posted by: Mookie at 03:02 PM | category: Links
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November 25, 2006

The Sweetest Thanksgiving Leftover Ever


If you know what's coming, you're welcome. If not, put down the beverage.

Thanks to Off Wing Opinion for this one.

Posted by: Ted at 10:01 AM | category: Links
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US Navy Ceremonial Guard Drill Team (YouTube video).

Thanks to Murdoc for this wonderful pointer.

Posted by: Ted at 09:52 AM | category: Military
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Childish Enough to Think This is Funny

The world is never surreal enough to suit me.
trash pile.jpg
My idea, my photoshop (neither of which is all that).

Posted by: Ted at 09:27 AM | category: Square Pegs
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November 20, 2006

Almost Famous

Last week I was informed that Rocket Jones was a Googlewhack. I checked for myself, and sure enough, by typing two common words into Google this site was the only result returned. Pretty cool, until I noticed that one of the two words was misspelled.

Dang. So close.

Posted by: Ted at 05:20 AM | category: Links
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Cringe-Worthy Tattoo

I laughed, but then, it's not my child.

Posted by: Ted at 04:27 AM | category: Square Pegs
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November 19, 2006

A Reminder

Red Skelton's classic reading of the Pledge of Allegiance.

Posted by: Ted at 03:14 PM | category: Links
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Too Damn Clever For My Own Good

I just saw a commercial on TV for a one-message digital recorder. As usual, the entire commercial is snark-worthy, especially how everyone using the audio reminder nods and smiles as they listen to themselves.

But it dawned on me that this little wonder is the ultimate in lazy-assed remote control. Just record yourself clapping, and then you can play it when walking into a room and all your clapper-attached lights will go on. Oh, wait. They already have something like that. It's called a light switch.

Posted by: Ted at 11:48 AM | category: Square Pegs
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I might have paid extra for that

Liz exercised her woman's perogative (translation: she changed her mind) about the dining room set we had selected, but not yet purchased. Her reasoning was sound, and I was gracious and understanding when I found that we would need to go out for more furniture shopping (translation: "Again? Jeez, I thought we... Fine. Whatever. Get your coat. Of course I'm not mad. Am I acting mad? Well, no, I'm not mad.")

We had a good laugh at one store when the saleslady informed us that they offered "midget delivery". I cracked up, knowing that I couldn't have heard that right, and Liz translated the accent for me. "Midget delivery" equals "immediate delivery". Now you know.

Posted by: Ted at 09:39 AM | category: Square Pegs
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It struck me that I've been rather fortunate in my life when it comes to seeing legendary sports figures in action. I grew up in the San Fransisco bay area (long before it became the silly-con valley) and saw Willie Mays, Juan Marichal, Willie McCovey and others play at Candlestick. Bobby Bonds too, who was a phenominal talent in his own right, before his son became all that written in all capital letters, italicized, underscored and possibly asterisked (depending on your viewpoint).

Across the bay there were the Oakland A's of Rick Monday and Reggie Jackson, Vida Blue and Rollie Fingers. I saw them during their year of the big mustache, and they were colorful even without the kelly and gold uniforms. I saw Rod Carew, Tony Oliva and Harmon Killebrew when the Twins came to town.

On the lower pantheon of legends were Charlie O'Connell, Joanie Weston, Ann Calvello and Alvin Mallory of Roller Derby fame. Do a little googling, and then tell me those guys (and gals) weren't amazing.

Back in SF was Joe Montana and Jerry Rice (after a long and painful drought when the Niner's weren't very good) and Darryl Lamonica, George Blanda and Ken Stabler (to name only the QBs in silver and black) led an always entertaining cast of misfits and characters which existed as one of the most successful sports stories for almost three decades.

Now living in the Washington D.C. metro area, we've had the treat of seeing Michael Jordan in his post-Bulls days. Still legendary, and although diminished it wasn't enough to tarnish the career.

Baltimore offered us Cal Ripken and Eddie Murray, both of whom I shall tell my grandchildren about.

And now, much like those fortunate enough to live in Edmonton during Gretzgy's reign, or Pittsburgh while Mario was on the ice in his prime (or the Steelers during the *spit* "Steel Curtain" *spit* years), I have the opportunity to see a very rare talent in action. I got to see Alex Ovechkin play hockey for the Washington Capitals live last year, and countless times on local television. Folks, if he comes to town, take advantage and see this kid play. Amazing, and it's not hype to say that he belongs with the legendary names mentioned above.

I need to snag tickets for the Caps/Penguins for the chance to see Ovechkin and Semin, Crosby and Malkin playing all at once. That's one for the ages, and happens not too rarely thanks to hockey scheduling.

For the record, I dislike Sydney Crosby for no real reason other than the fact that the NHL handed him the throne before he played a single minute on the big ice. He's earning star status, but not *the* star, and I find it hilarious that he's been referred to as "Captain of the Canadian Diving Team". Hopefully, he'll be whistled for some penalties that will disabuse him of that shoddy habit, but I worry that "the star" will come to expect calls to go his way as he tries to draw penalties. Anyway, he's exciting to watch and a genuine talent and I don't like him. Maybe I'll mellow in time, but I'll for sure go to see him while I have the chance.

Posted by: Ted at 07:15 AM | category: Square Pegs
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November 12, 2006

Rockets don't have to be boring

Normal rockets are often called "three fins and a nosecone". This entry in the most recent EMRR rocket design contest is anything but. Wicked cool.

Posted by: Ted at 12:24 PM | category: Rocketry
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A Little Good Goes A Long Way

This weekend my wife and oldest daughter Robyn bought their dresses for the upcoming wedding. Instead of a long, drawn-out ordeal travelling from store to store looking for *the* dress, each found what they were looking for at the very first places they went. For an occasion like this, you don't mind spending the money (Liz and Robyn were a little afraid to tell me what the wedding dress cost, but when they did I was relieved because it was much less than I had prepared myself for).

That's the good.

On Friday, the kitchen floor people came out and removed the new floor that they had botched. Somehow, somewhy, when they moved the stove to get at the floor underneath, instead of removing the temperature probe from the oven, they took the readout from the counter and tossed it inside. That night, I went to preheat the oven and was almost overcome from the fumes as that plastic readout unit melted and made a huge mess in the bottom of my brand new oven. A half hour of scraping and scrubbing got it out, but I was *not* a happy camper.

Yesterday the subfloor guy showed up to fix the problem that contributed to the screwed up installation of the floor. He had given me a ballpark estimate of the cost based on what we could tell him because he didn't want to cut the floor up ahead of time. He was concerned that with Liz on a cane, it would leave him open to liability if she tripped on it. He came highly recommended by several people, and I was prepared to fork over the top end of his estimate, while hoping it would be closer to the low end.

No such luck. After an hour of looking at what needed to be done, I finally asked what it would cost to do the job right (instead of the cheaper mickey-mouse alternatives that we'd been discussing). I knew what really needed to be done, but he didn't want to have to say it.


Well, it's done. It's beautiful, as much as a sub-floor can be beautiful. He was a craftsman, as carpenters go, and in the end the new floor will be better for it. Tomorrow the kitchen people show up again and install the new floor. That part of it (removal and install new) is free for us, because they goofed the original. Liz will be watching like a hawk, because she's still pissed that it had to be redone. Plus, now she knows what a good job should look like.

So we've spent our 3-day weekend with more contractors making a mess in the house, and spent way more money than was originally planned, but that's ok. Robyn's wedding dress is absolutely beautiful, and Liz is gorgeous in her new dress.

Posted by: Ted at 11:01 AM | category: Square Pegs
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I Am A Simple Man

There are 3 shelves tucked into each back corner of our shower, and this morning I noticed something.

My wife has two shelves for her various bottles. My son has a shelf with two bottles. Rachael has a shelf with multiple bottles, even though she's away at school. I have a single shelf, with a single bottle of shampoo. The dogs have a single shelf, with a single bottle of shampoo.

Means nothing, but I'm glad that the dog's shelf and mine are nowhere near each other, lest some half-awake morning I wind up citrus fresh and flea-free.

Posted by: Ted at 10:34 AM | category: Square Pegs
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Absolutely Horrifying, Yet Somewhow I'm not Surprised

Where to start...

Rich, who has been pointing out the inexorable subjugation of the human race to our future mechanical overlords, links to a story about a new robot.

..."an electromechanical sommelier", capable of identifying wines, cheeses, meats and hors d'oeuvres.

The creep factor goes way up when we learn that they've given this little beastie a child-like voice to use when he identifies whatever it is that you've fed into his maw.

Then, of course, there's this:

But when some smart aleck reporter placed his hand in the robot's omnivorous clanking jaw, he was identified as bacon. A cameraman then tried and was identified as prosciutto.

This ties in quite nicely with our NaNoWriMo '06 effort to write an anthology about Giant Evil Space Robots.


Too nicely, maybe...

(as always, special thanks to Webster Colcord for permission to use his graphics)

Posted by: Ted at 12:10 AM | category: NaNoWriMo2006
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November 10, 2006


If you did, thank you. You recognize that our freedoms come with responsibility.

Posted by: Ted at 07:45 AM | category: Square Pegs
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Born and Raised

Californian, that is. I used to say that earthquakes were the price you paid for living in paradise. Now, after learning that Californians actually defeated a proposition to limit Kelo-style property seizures, I think I'd rephrase that:

Living among the insane is the price you pay for paradise.

I'm never going back. I'm not even missing it. The California I loved is long gone.

Posted by: Ted at 07:41 AM | category: Politics
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Counterintuitive At First Glance

I am pro-gay marriage.

I voted for the Virginia Marriage Constitutional Amendment.

Let me tell you why. I've explained this about four times over the last week, so I thought I'd put it out here and just point people here when the subject comes up.

First, I believe that the word "marriage" needs to be taken out of the argument. Leave "marriage" to those who become partners in a church, under the old rules. Gay couples and those who stand before a Justice of the Peace, etc. aren't technically "married", they have entered a civil union or some other term that will be coined or evolve into common usage. Same results, same standing in the eyes of the law, but by not officially calling it a marriage, you're taking away one of the hot buttons of the extreme members on both ends of the spectrum.

Now, as to voting the way I did... When the Virginia constitutional amendment passed, in a practical sense it accomplished nothing. Things are going to go along exactly as they always have, except that now it's in writing. Most importantly though, is that the amendment takes the resolution of the issue out of the hands of the judicial branch and places it squarely in the hands of the citizens of Virginia, where it belongs. Activist judges are being recognized as a growing concern with many people, and the passage of amendments like these are as much a check on the power of the bench as they are a statement against gay marriage.

That is *exactly* why I voted for it.

So now what? Well, as of this moment the name-calling must stop. If the amendment is to be modified or repealed, the only way will be to muster your logic and make persuasive arguments and convince people. Calling me an ignorant bigot does nothing to help your cause, it causes me to dismiss you as a childish idiot throwing a temper tantrum because I don't believe as you do.

Whining because you want it "right now" reinforces that perception.

The measure didn't pass by an overwhelming majority. If you want to change it, forget the martyr act and be reasonable and debate the issue and score your points. It won't happen overnight, but it won't happen at all if you don't change minds.

Posted by: Ted at 06:56 AM | category: Politics
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November 08, 2006


The title made sense when I started writing this. Now, not so much.

Michele posted a link to this nice little Jethro Tull piece done by Ian Anderson and an orchestra.

While you're there, check out an oldie but goodie, Bouree.

Or enjoy this version.

Heck, you should just do a search there on Jethro Tull and spend an hour enjoying the music. Be prepared to be amazed at the variety of styles that Tull plays to keep their songs from getting stale.

It just dawned on me while watching this video, they sound a bit like Blue on his CD's (which I also highly recommend - scroll down on that link).

Posted by: Ted at 05:59 PM | category: Links
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November 06, 2006

Believe it

This morning on the radio there were two different reports of deer being hit by cars. By coincidence, last night I was watching part of the Blue Collar Comedy show and heard this bit:

You want to hunt deer? Here's my suggestion: take the bullet, slow it down to 55mph and put headlights and a horn on it, and I promise you, the danged deer will jump in front of it.

I think he's on to something.

Posted by: Ted at 06:04 AM | category: Square Pegs
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