May 31, 2007

Sometimes the Best Part is the Showing Off

Three hours ago, Mookie and Mrs. Jones came home from a lucrative shopping trip. WalMart is getting rid of their fabric departments, and the ladies hit them hard at clearance prices. Much fabric was carted into the house.

Mookie just came downstairs to model a skirt she made. Red polka dots, side-zipper, and other sewish jargon that I don't understand was used. It looks good.

I asked her if it ever made her friends mad that she could whip out a skirt or purse in a couple of hours. She answered, "not really, but it really pisses 'em off when I do it without using a pattern."

Like this one. The girl got skilz.

Posted by: Ted at 07:33 PM | category: Square Pegs
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The Magic of Minor League Baseball

So far this season...

Had the owner of the team come into the stands to shake hands and say "hello, thanks for coming" to every single person there. He even sat with some folks for a while, talking about things that could be improved at the ballpark.

After one evening game, as we walked back to the car we passed a guy in full kit, standing in the dark of the parking lot playing the bagpipes.

During a mid-week evening game - attendance less than 300 - we watched as the ushers made sure that every single kid in the stadium got a foul ball during the game.

Monday's are dollar night. Ticket to the grandstand, a buck. Hot dog, a buck. Not cheap dogs either, these are Hebrew National franks.

The astoundingly good fireworks after Saturday night games.

Hearing an announcement that goes something like, "Would the owner of a blue Honda Accent, license plate ABC-123 please report to the customer service booth... because you've got THE DIRTIEST CAR IN THE PARKING LOT!!!" They win a deluxe car wash from a local business. It's done every game, and I laugh like hell every time.

Cheering every game when the home team takes the field before the National Anthem, who are then joined by the players from one of the local little league teams.

The various renditions of the National Anthem. Not that bad, not that good (to quote Alabama). Once by an elementary school choir, another time by Miss Blue Ridge Mountains or some such. Got a lump in my throat when she dedicated the song to her dad, who was a reservist leaving for Afghanistan in a couple of weeks.

Singing Take Me Out to the Ball Game for the seventh inning stretch, followed by the theme song from SpongeBob Square Pants. I'm getting to know those words, too.

Dozens of little kids in their little league uniforms scrambling for every foul ball.

Watching pre-game warmups to various baseball-related songs interspersed with comedy bits like Abbot and Costello's classic Who's On First?

Baseball, played by guys who love the game. They're not getting rich at this level, and the odds are that they'll never get to the big show, but they hustle and play hard every single play.

Rocket Jones Recommendation: Try it, you might love it.

Posted by: Ted at 05:49 PM | category: Square Pegs
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May 30, 2007

My Latest Horror Movie Reviews

Over at Joe Horror, I review Misty Mundae's Bite Me! (mutant spiders, yay!) and the classic The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. Lots of other good reviews posted too.

Posted by: Ted at 10:16 PM | category: Links
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Beautiful

This is a must see video. Amazing. Thanks to Dustbury.

Posted by: Ted at 10:11 PM | category: Links
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May 27, 2007

Open Purse for Terse Verse

100-word stories have long been one of the features of Blog d'Elisson, and apparently he's now found someone demented enough to run with the idea. You can now buy "Shorts in a Wad: One Hundred 100-Word Stories" at Amazon.com.

You go buy now, he love you short time.

Posted by: Ted at 04:31 PM | category: Links
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Old School

Mrs. Jones has posted some links to the old Schoolhouse Rock videos. I spent a while singing along with them again.

Conjunction Junction, What's Your Function?...

Posted by: Ted at 08:51 AM | category: Links
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May 26, 2007

My Private Little 50's Horror Movie

I'm sitting in the living room last night around 11pm, watching a movie (lesbian vampires, review coming soon), when I felt something land on me. I brushed it away without thinking. A few minutes later, it happened again. Almost immediately, again. Now, the thought did cross my mind that it could be a spider, but hey, I'm watching lesbian vampires, ya know?

I finally snagged whatever is was that was landing on me and looked at it, and it had wings. We've had mayfly hatchings where the dang things get into the house and are everywhere, but this didn't look like a mayfly. It looked like an...

Uh oh. Go turn on the light and then check the front door. Sunuvabitch! Ants!!! The tile floor in front of the door is covered with 'em, and I see scouts already making their way onto the carpet. The doorframe is alive with them and they're making their way along the wall as they expand their beachhead.

I'm really pissed off now. Heading into the basement to find some industrial grade ecologically-unsound ant fucker-upper, I'm wondering if wasp/hornet killer will do the job, because I *know* I've got two cans of that shit. What I found was an old pump spray bottle of ant killer for plants with about two inches of liquid in the bottom. I checked for an expiration date, but no luck.

Hoping that spraying the ants with this ancient chemical wouldn't make them grow to beagle size, I started in on them. Wonder of wonders, it was still potent enough to kill them and not just make them wet and angry. I spent the next couple of hours spraying and then waiting for the next wave to appear. It was like Normandy, except that I was the Kraut bastard in the pillbox staring over the sights of my machine gun, and there were no Captain Miller's in the invasion force.

At 3am, I used paper towels to mop up the last little corpses and sop the last puddles of insecticide from the floor. I also poured the last half inch of poison (that wouldn't pump) into the visible anthole. This afternoon I went out and bought ant baits to put around plus some long lasting ant-killer/repellent.

Nobody interrupts me when I'm watching lesbian vampires! A man's gotta have his limits.

Posted by: Ted at 02:51 PM | category: Square Pegs
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May 25, 2007

Like Father, Like Son I Guess

St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Josh Hancock died recently in an auto accident. He rear-ended a tow truck that was stopped in the lane of the road to assist a disabled vehicle. He was driving drunk (almost twice the legal limit), talking on a cell phone, not wearing a seat belt, speeding, and there was pot found in the wreckage of his SUV.

Now his father is suing. First, the bar that served his son alcohol, even though he's been described as a "regular" there. Also named in the lawsuit is the tow truck company and driver, because they should've been professional enough to have already have moved the disabled vehicle out of the roadway. While he's at it, he's suing the driver of the disabled vehicle for failing to maintain it well enough to keep it from breaking down. The vehicle that stalled had spun out after being cut off by another car, barely avoiding an earlier accident.

It's obvious that the dead kid had inherited his father's rotten judgement. I wonder if he was a clueless asshole with a victim-complex too?

Posted by: Ted at 06:51 AM | category: Links
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May 23, 2007

I Could've Sworn That I'd Mentioned This...

A recent idea for a practical joke for when I hit the lottery, but first a quick setup: We live in a townhouse community, and each home is allotted one reserved parking space, with all extra spaces marked as "visitor" (first-come-first-served). Since nearly everyone has at least two cars, the visitor spaces are dear, especially ones near your house.

If I hit the lottery, on a Friday morning as people leave for work, I will call for PODS to be delivered, one for each open visitor space. Imagine the reactions when folks get home for the weekend to find all the extra parking taken up by these portable storage units.

Hilarity ensues.

For some, winning the lottery means they get the chance to buy special gifts for their folks or they can retire or donate big money to a favorite cause. For me, it provides the opportunity to be a prick. Grande.

Posted by: Ted at 08:12 PM | category: Square Pegs
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Photos from the Team America Rocketry Challenge

A nice slideshow of photos of the Team America Rocketry Challenge, from DoD (just click the "next" button at the bottom to scroll through).

Thanks to Pratt Hobbies blog for the pointer!

Posted by: Ted at 04:57 AM | category: Rocketry
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May 22, 2007

Psst...

*whisper* Rachel Lucas is back! */whisper*

*sqeeeeee!!!!!!*

Posted by: Ted at 10:46 AM | category: Links
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May 21, 2007

Team America Rocketry Challenge 2007

Last Saturday the finals for this year's event were held. A brief recap for those unfamiliar with it:

Sponsored by the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) and the National Organization of Rocketry (NAR), teams of students design, build and fly a rocket to meet specific mission goals. This year the goals were:

1) get as close as possible to an altitude of 850 feet as measured by an onboard electronic altimeter
2) get as close as possible to a flight duration of 45 seconds, measured from the first motion on the launch pad to the touching down of the payload capsule
3) carry aloft a raw egg and return it unbroken

More than 600 teams (6000+ kids) from across the US entered and made qualification flights, and the top 100 teams were selected to fly in the finals. The students have to do the work themselves with minimal supervision from the adults. Teams can come from middle and high schools, private schools, home-school associations, and scout, explorer and 4H clubs.

The prizes consist of scholarship money, money for the sponsoring school or group for scientific educational equipment and materials, and more. The purpose of the challenge is to promote an interest in the aerospace sciences as a career choice.

I talked about previous events here: 2006, more 2006, 2005 recap, more 2005, 2004, 2003 (now where did I hide that?), and 2002.

I was at the field at 6:30am and didn't leave until almost 9pm that night, and most of it was spent on my feet. I'm just going to touch on some factoids and memorable moments.

Every year, we've had uber-cool flyovers by military aircraft as part of the opening ceremony. This year, an F117 stealth fighter opened the show. It's bigger than you'd think, a *lot* quieter than you expect, and the head on profile is almost invisible.

England did their first rocketry challenge contest this year, and their winning team was treated to a trip to the colonies to attend our event. Their first place score would have placed them in 5th here, which is no shame at all. Quite a few people from the British embassy were present as well.

There was a contingent from the German aerospace industries, checking out the event with an eye towards holding their own.

Buzz Aldrin attended again this year. He still looks good, he's still a hero.

Among the many, many, many VIP's, the biggest this year was Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. He gave a really nice non-political speech and has lots of serious-looking security agents swarming around him. I was close enough to nod and say hello but I didn't take the step forward to shake his hand.

The winning team was half and half male/female and had an almost perfect score. Lower is better, and theirs was 1.86 (zero is perfect). As a bonus, Raytheon (I think) is footing the bill to send them to the Paris Air Show next month. Raytheon also chipped in an extra five grand in prize money for each of the top three teams.

The skill-level of these kids is improving to the point of near-perfection. I can only remember three flights that were disqualified for safety reasons, and one of them was borderline. For all I know, that one wasn't DQ'd because our main goal is to let the teams win or lose on their own, not because of nit-picky rules violations.

I heard something like "Three years ago, the cutoff to make the finals was 99 points. This year, it was 38." That, my friends, is massive improvelence.

I got sunburned, as usual. Afterwards, we had a catered steak and rib BBQ, and then broke down the range and put away the equipment. At the end of the day I was dog tired yet feeling good.

Instead of sleeping in the next day, I got up early enough to get to the ballpark to watch the afternoon game. More sun, but I remembered the sunblock this time.

Posted by: Ted at 08:36 PM | category: Rocketry
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May 20, 2007

Help Me! I've Vacationed and I Can't Get Up!

Wife Liz said it best... "whirlwind" vacation. We had a great time, but it wasn't chock full o' rest and relaxation, despite my best intentions.

We saw Steely Dan in concert, and it was disappointing. Technically, they were very good (as expected) and very jazzy and improvisational (as expected), but the show was only about a dozen songs, each one stretched out by long solo runs. Liz is a casual fan and she didn't recognize anything they played until the seventh song, which is criminal when you consider how long they've been on the radio. There was almost nothing that you'd consider their "Greatest Hits". I enjoyed the heck out of it and would've been thrilled to see the show in a club, but when I pay concert prices I expect to hear familiar music done well, not the fifth song on side B of their second album from 1973.

As we were in line to get into the concert, they were patting folks down. At their request I started to empty my pockets, and the guy says, "you don't have any knives, do you?"

I said, "yes I do, my Swiss Army knife", and I pulled it out of my back pocket where it almost always resides.

After consultation with the head of security, I was told that I couldn't bring it into the concert arena. Ok, so I left Liz there - let them deal with her wheelchair clogging traffic, they're the ones causing the problem - and ran back to the parking garage to put my knife in the car. Back to the arena and the fool wants to pat me down again.

This time, I said, "excuse me, but I just ran back to my car and put the knife away. Do you really think I just wandered around for 10 minutes before coming back here to sneak in a knife that I voluntarily told you I had when you asked?"

I think that confused him. He waved me through. I didn't even want to get into the whole "weapon vs. tool" debate. Not the time nor place. Besides, only a wuss would classify a Swiss Army knife as a weapon.

Posted by: Ted at 07:47 AM | category: Rocketry
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May 15, 2007

Mookie in the News

Her Directorial debut.

Posted by: Ted at 07:41 PM | category: Links
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May 14, 2007

New Writing Gig

I'm now a contributing reviewer over at Joe Horror. New reviews every Monday. Check out my debut on Idle Hands.

Posted by: Ted at 05:34 AM | category: Cult Flicks
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May 13, 2007

Vacation!!!

We travelled to Staunton to visit daughter Mookie this weekend. She's taking a class on Directing in theatre this term and the final project was an evening of one-act plays. She and the other two young ladies each directed two plays, and it was an enjoyable evening. We were invited to and stayed after for the cast party.

Tomorrow, I work a half day and then the Mrs. and I are off for a week's vacation. I expect I'll have internet access along the way, but mostly I'll be relaxin' and recreatin'.

On Friday, I have a long-assed drive home, just in time to get to the mandatory Friday evening meeting for this year's Team America Rocket Challenge. That happens Saturday (rumor has it that the opening cermony flyby may be an F117 stealth fighter, woot!), and on Sunday I'll probably just do my comatose impersonation.

Posted by: Ted at 04:04 PM | category: Square Pegs
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How To Tell You're In A Woman's College, Part (whatever)

The sign on the door says "Men's Restroom", yet there's a sign next to the toilet reminding you not to flush your tampons, and a little biohazard box for disposal of things that shouldn't be flushed.

Because even though it's a "Men's Restroom", if that were strictly adhered to the room would be unused 99.5% of the time.

I left the seat up.

Posted by: Ted at 03:49 PM | category: Square Pegs
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May 11, 2007

Best Headline of the Day

Yankees' Wang Hit Hard

Fastball or thrown bat?

Posted by: Ted at 05:49 AM | category: Links
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May 09, 2007

Booms

Boomshine. An addictive little flashgame with a beautiful musical score. Thanks to the Llama Butchers for pointing this one out.

Meanwhile, over at Random Nuclear Strikes, David attended this year's Boomershoot (follow that link and be sure to check out the second page for more pictures and video). Basically, Boomershoot is an event where you shoot exploding targets at long range. Great fun, and some beautiful gun porn if you're into that sort of thing.

Posted by: Ted at 05:59 AM | category: Links
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May 08, 2007

Somehow, I'm Not Surprised

They first tried to pin the blame on Kirk for the assasination of Chancellor Gorkon and later implicated General Chang and Lt. Saavik among others, but recent evidence has surfaced to reveal the true masterminds behind the conspiracy to ignite a war that would span the galaxy.

RJklingons.jpg

Hasidic Klingons. Who knew?

Posted by: Ted at 08:22 PM | category: Square Pegs
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