Thursday, December 27, 2007

Merry Christmas! You may now open your presents.

For my blog readers, I offer you Christmas gifts as tangible as our relationships (e.g. digitized, compressed, and transmitted over networks for all the world to share in).

For the linguistically challenged traveler:


For the decorative computer nerd:

And for the relatives of Cousin Itt with newborn babies:

I hope all had a merry Christmas and we in the Euphrony family wish you a happy new year.

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Friday, December 21, 2007

I just thought I would't blog

As perhaps could be expected, I look away from the computer for a few days and find a million things worth sharing. Posting this, I feel a little like a store that does a "going out of business sale" every month. Oh well; I'm getting off work early today, so I have some time. Here, have a laugh.

And have a
Mary Christmas, too. Just select one of the hundred or so Mary Christmases that aren't already taken, please; this one is married.

Our minivan has no antenna; thus rendering Mrs. E's collection of antenna balls useless.
In steps Jack! Jack in the Box now sells antenna balls with the antenna attached. Uses a suction cup. Problem solved.

We ate dinner last night at a nice Italian restaurant. In the middle, Lil'E had to take a potty break. On returning to the table, she could be heard loudly saying "I couldn't get the second poo poo out. Help! Push it back in!"

From
xkcd.com:

Join MySpace xkcd
Pointers xkcd
Snapple xkcd
(My apologies for the last two to those not computer savvy or up with the periodic table. I laughed all day over these.)

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Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Zzzzzzzzzzzz

I'm tired.

I'm really tired.

I'm struggling here to care about the blog world. I've made some interesting "friends" in my year and a half of blogging, but right now I just don't care. Honestly. Don't care. I've got other things on my mind. Hosting family for Christmas. Getting the house clean. Presents wrapped. Trying not to completely lose my temper with my family for no reason (which is totally out of character for me, but true at the moment). Little things like that.

I know I'm not the most popular site on the net. Ho hum, big deal. Why would I expect to be the number one site, or even number 1,000,000, when even I don't think I'm that interesting or compelling. I get, randomly, between 20 and 100 visitors a day to Euphrony Rambles. On top of that, I have an average of 30 subscribers to my
RSS Feed. So, probably 30-40 regular readers of this blathering blatherskite. I don't think that's too bad. I get maybe three comments a week - so much for hosting a conversation here. I converse a ton on other blogs, though.

I'm struggling not to look at this as a popularity contest. I know its not, but sometimes I care just too much about such things. And I don't want to deal with it right now. I'm trying to work on another site,
Inspired to Action, where we talk about and try to inspire people to act, in God's name, to touch people's lives. It's hard to inspire others when you yourself feel rather uninspired. I'd rather see good stuff over there than dross here. I've got several post ideas - about abominations of Christmas yard decorations, thoughts on books I've read recently, I could talk about my kids for days, the struggles of helping and caring for friends (and family) even when you think they may be doing stupid things, music is always on my mind, I could rant for days about my office nemesis, or how I feel some people/Christians take the work of some of the best artists and strip it of all meaning to clothe themselves in the leftover, tattered rags and effect an air of accomplishment for embracing the art or worship. Boy, I could rant for days about some things right now.

But I don't want to. I don't want to be the gripe spot. I don't want to be so negative. I don't even feel the desire to take the time to write down the positive things. Rather do something else. The only reason I'm typing right now is catharsis - it'll be even odds as to whether I publish this or trash it. I'm not doing it to get sympathy (oh, Euphrony, we love your blog . . .), I'm just talking. If you like stopping by here, then great. If you're just passing through, well, you know where to find me. Come back any time. Maybe I will, too. Some time.

Right now, I want to spend the holidays with my family. I want to not blow it when Lil'E starts whining about not eating the dinner she asked for. I want to be a support and joy for my wife, not an annoying jerk. I had to leave the house after dinner last night, go catch a movie and do some grocery shopping, so that I could get a hold on my temper and calm down a bit. Me. For those who don't know me, I don't have a temper. I'm mister calm, cool, and collected. But there it is.

There's been some ballyhoo from a couple of bloggers about taking a blogcation. I guess I'm joining them. Don't be surprised if you don't here from me for a while; at least not before 2008. And considering my work load for January, I don't think I'll be around much then. I'll be focusing most of my efforts on I2A, not here. Like I said, that's worth something.
Go there.

TTFN

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Little Man; Big Nerd

Liler'E and meI told you I still wore it. You probably didn't believe me, but here I am. Liler'E looks like a little man, I look like a nerd. Yep, that's me. Don't I look proud?

Friday, December 14, 2007

Opening lines

Before the chorus. Before the plot. Before the eye-grabbing special effects. Before you know who's who and what's what. Before any of that you have the opening line. Some live up to the expectations and are truly memorable.

Chestnuts roasting on an open fire . . .

Call me Ishmael.
Others are infamous.
It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in torrents--except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of wind which swept up the streets (for it is in London that our scene lies), rattling along the housetops, and fiercely agitating the scanty flame of the lamps that struggled against the darkness.
Others are just plain bad.
Like an overripe beefsteak tomato rimmed with cottage cheese, the corpulent remains of Santa Claus lay dead on the hotel floor.
(for more of these gems, see the
Bulwer-Lytton Contest, also know as the Dark and Stormy Night contest)
What are your favorites? What lines do you always go back to? What opening lines make you want to seek shelter as you pray for fire from heaven to rain down on the author?

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Thursday, December 13, 2007

Hot off the Presses: Lil'E wows crowd at pre-school Christmas program, is called a "Little Angel"

I just got back from going to Lil'E's wonderful Christmas program this morning. As a 4-year old (the oldest class), her group does the manger scene all dressed in costumes. Lil'E was an angel (mainly because her best friend at school was also an angel). Here she is, praying over the crèche with her other angel/friend on her left and Mary and Joseph on the right.

Lil'E in her Christmas program

Screaming KidShe did a great job in the whole show - got all the hand motions and words down right. Didn't even look too bored (I saw more than one yawn from some kids). At least I can say that this was not my child (not this time, at least).

Flasher KidNot my kid, either. She may run naked through the house at times, but she usually keeps her clothes on in public. That's a good precedent for her future.

My parents were there for the show this morning, and we opened presents from them last night. As I have discussed on
Kat's post about creepy dolls, Lil'E got a Baby Alive doll. This doll talks, eats, and poops. That's right: poops. And yes, you have to buy extra food and diapers for her. To top it all off, you have to put the "baby" to bed (Lil’E would flip out if you just turned it off) - the bedtime routine for Baby Alive includes the "baby" asking for a drink, wanting to read stories and sing songs, and takes an inordinate amount of time. I foresee many prolonged evenings ahead. I also wonder about the morality of starving a doll, thereby forever scaring a child's psyche.

So, what have you been doing to prepare for the holiday season?

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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Tidbits

Here are a few tidbits I found amusing today. Maybe you will, too.

From "Commitments Differ for College Players, Coaches" by NPR commentator Frank Deford:

There are, I have discovered, four things in the world today that you absolutely cannot count on:
  1. Airlines
  2. Vladimir Putin
  3. Giving a small boy a goldfish and expecting it to live very long
  4. College coaches honoring their contracts
. . . [the NCAA] is essentially to college athletic departments, what the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce is to casinos
______________________________________________________

From a story on the release tomorrow of the results of George Mitchell's 20-month investigation into drug use in baseball:
[Baseball Commissioner] Bud Selig does not plan to attend the news conference at a Manhattan hotel a few blocks from the commissioner's office.
(well, either he's too lazy to travel a couple of blocks or he is doing the MLB equivalent of sticking his fingers in his ears and screaming "I can't hear you!")
______________________________________________________

Sherman's Lagoon

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Monday, December 10, 2007

A Very Special Blog from Euphrony

Michael LandonHappy Holidays, one and all, and welcome to this Very Special Episode of Euphrony Rambles. You know that it is a Very Special Episode because, first, I have told you that it is a Very Special Episode and, second, it features Michael Landon as a guest star. (For those of you unaware of this particular definition of "Very Special Episode", it is best described as being similar to anything done by Michael Landon from the Highway to Heaven series and includes many of the Little House episodes and much of his other work. Anything similar to this, or in which Michael Landon appeared, is by default a Very Special Episode.)

It's the holiday season. The time for good cheer. The time for giving and thinking of others. The time for overproduced church musicals. The time for songs written and sung just so - and will bring a tear to your eye as sure as sliced onions. We in the Euphrony family partake in these traditions as readily as the next family - and how could we not, when Mrs. E and Lil'E love them so much and I love sharing that time with them. In the tradition of the season, I have decided to give back to you, my loyal (and not so loyal) readers.

I begin with the Christmas program we went to see this past weekend at a nearby megachurch,
Champion Forest Baptist Church, entitled "Finding Home". It told the story of a common American family at the holidays. Father and son law firm. Daughter who runs a charitable organization. Wife who throws soirees on every occasion. Caterers who spit in your food and laugh at you. An eldest son who left home, is destitute, and returns to a tear-filled family. The special guest star was a Christian artist who lives in Nashville and has a recording contract (thus sealing his credentials). It was Very Special. The second half was a tribute to the birth, death, and resurrection of Jesus. The wise men rode onto the stage to present their gifts to the baby - two on camels and one on an elephant (yes, you read that right, an elephant on stage). The baby Jesus was well-played by a newborn baby girl. Because she was a little confused, and really only wanted to see the animals, Lil'E had to ask me to see if that was the real Jesus or not. I told her no, it was a man playing Jesus. Liler'E had a lower opinion of the whole experience and decided to go play in the child watch.

The holiday cheer continues as we in the Euphrony family are recording every holiday special in sight. All the classics - the Doodlebops, Wonder Pets, Diego and Dora, and Charlie and Lola - have all been saved to DVR and watched a hundred times by now. The others - Charlie Brown, the Grinch, and the
Rankin and Bass series of specials - are either recorded or owned. Lights are hung on the tree, and ornaments set where Liler'E cannot break them. The yard is aglow with lights and decorations (but no inflatables). We are all smiles, awaiting the opening of presents and a White Christmas in Houston.

Ted McGinleyAs I conclude this Very Special Episode of Euphrony Rambles, I want to wish you all a joyous Christmas and wonderful New Year. If you found this installment to be a meaningless ramble, please tell me that I have
Jumped the Shark - a review process that should be instilled for all blogs. If the simple fact that it was a Very Special Episode was insufficient, then perhaps the additional presence of the Patron Saint of Shark Jumpers, Ted McGinley, will surely push me over the top.

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Thursday, December 06, 2007

Worth reading

If you have not noticed the banner link on the right, go check out Inspired to Action this week and next. Over these two weeks the subject of abuse will be broached - something all to often swept under the rug in Christian communities. You can read about Becky's encounter with an abusive boyfriend (Part I and Part II)., and next week read about resources for the abused and abusive.

Also, I had a chance to ask some questions of
Shaun Groves and his involvement with Compassion International. Go read his thoughtful responses as to why he is inspired to action.

Behold the Lamb of God

Okay, so it was a week in coming; here, at last, are my comments on Andrew Peterson's Behold the Lamb of God tour. Mrs. E and I were able to attend last Friday night when they were in Houston (many thanks to Mrs. E for tracking down a baby sitter, which was hard this time).


The banner says that the tour features
Andrew Peterson, Sara Groves, Bebo Norman, and "many more". In reality, I think the tour should be renamed "The Andy's Christmas Tour 2007", as the many more included Andrew Osenga and Andrew Gullahorn, who along with Jill Phillips made up the six central performers. AP wrote up a full list of those on the tour on his blog, The Rabbit Room. (Side note: If you're looking for a good blog to read, go to The Rabbit Room. Now. Besides AP, he has a double handful of friends helping out, including Jason Gray, Randall Goodgame, and Ron Block of AKUS. Some very deep and good thoughts going on there.)

The show was in two parts, with the first half being music in the round. Each of the six artists took turns playing a song, going around the group twice. While they were singing, the others would sporadically come up and join in on harmony, making a nice shared experience. Andy O played one of my favorites of his, "Swing Wide the Glimmering Gates", and Sara's songs I have long loved. I'd not heard much from Jill Phillips recently, but enjoyed what I heard. I'd never heard Andy Gullahorn's music previous to last Friday night: my first taste was a song he wrote in memory of a toe that Andy Osenga lost in a lawn mower mishap. It was simultaneously beautiful, poignant, and hilarious as he sang of a little piggy regretting its new-found freedom ("His last meal was roast beef . . ."). Even better was Andy O's harmonizing to the chorus, adding that nice personal touch

Listening to him and his humor (which Mrs. E commented seemed so much like my own) makes me think I should get some more of his music. He even writes reviews of all his shows (since no one else will), but keeps them interesting by writing them all in Haiku. For example:

I had two women
Ask me to go out with them
Ben's grandma and aunt

or

Wonderful house show
Well, the house was wonderful
And there was a show

My kind of laughs.

After the individual songs Bebo gave a brief talk, ostensibly about
Compassion International; but he talked at least as much about Gary Haugen, International Justice Mission, and other things. Really, he talked about compassion (lower-case "c") and God's people. Talking about it, Mrs. E and I decided to sponsor a child with Compassion for the first time. We've supported so many other things (locally and internationally) that we (I) had been hesitant to keep spreading to other groups. After seeing how Lil'E responded to getting a Christmas gift for a little girl at a children's home a couple of weeks ago, though, we decided that she is more than ready to be sharing in this work. So now we will be writing letters to a 4-year old girl in Brazil and telling her that we love her and want to see her cared for in her daily needs.

After a brief intermission (during which the musicians apparently
play Speed Scrabble) everyone came out and performed the entirety of AP's Behold the Lamb of God. Beautiful music, and a great look at the scriptural anticipation of Jesus' birth. Not many people can put Jesus' genealogy to music, but Andrew did well.

I could write more, but I've rambled enough already. In short, go see the show. If you can not get to a show this year, buy the CD and go next year. That is an official Euphrony recommendation (for what it's worth - I also recommend
Pure Luck, and people may argue with me about that).

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Monday, December 03, 2007

de facto ban

de facto - ACTUALLY : in fact : in reality

In other words, when something is de facto, it has the force of reality without being spelled out in so many words.

A hospital here in Houston,
West Houston Medical Center, has placed a de facto ban on the "risky" procedure of women having a vaginal birth after a cesarean section (VBAC) by no longer guaranteeing the availability of anesthesiologists after normal working hours for VBAC patients. You can read an article from a couple of weeks ago in the Houston Chronicle here. Without the promise of available anesthesiologists, in case of emergency, few doctors will be willing to allow women to have VBACs, forcing them into the new reality of "once a cesarean, always a cesarean".

Some physicians cite the risks of the procedure - mainly the 1 percent chance [actually, less than 1%] the uterus will rupture along the C-section scar - as reason to perform repeat C-sections instead.
But C-sections, too, carry risks, particularly those associated with surgery, such as infection. So which option is better for a woman often hinges on her pregnancy, including whether she's likely to have the same complications that required a C-section during the previous birth.
For doctors, C-sections can be more appealing because there's less chance of a lawsuit. In the small percentage of VBAC cases that result in uterine rupture, an unpredictable complication, a C-section must be performed immediately to save the life of both the mother and the baby. (from the
Chronicle article)
What this is really about is not the women's health, or about the safety of one option over the other. This is simply about two things:
  1. doctors fear lawsuits, and their insurance companies fear them even more, and
  2. doctors like schedules and dislike having to be available 24/7 waiting for a birth to happen naturally when they can set it for 8:00 Monday morning and be done with it in an hour.
Right now, there is something you can do about this. A petition is being gathered (a real one, not some goofy add your name to the e-mail chain) that can be signed on-line. Go sign the petition, and it will be presented to the hospital per their stated mission of listening to the community.

This is something that Mrs. E and I are very passionate about. The birth of our little boy, now nine months old, was through VBAC. It was perfectly safe, and low risk, with the only problems coming from medical staff who indirectly expressed their disdain for us nutballs who make their life hard. Birth is not about the hospital getting it's way, and it is not about the insurance company finding the cheapest solution and maximizing their profits. Birth is about a mother, a father, and a child coming into the world. Give them the options to birth that baby in the best way possible for them, not for some third-party's interests. Please join us in signing this petition.

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Thursday, November 29, 2007

Christmas Music

I love Christmas time, and I love Christmas music. My wife doubts this, but only because I refuse to listen to it day-in day-out from Thanksgiving until New Year's. I get tired of listening to any music that much; to top it off, the Christmas music is very memorable and I already have issues with getting songs stuck in my head.

Anyway, I thought I would share list of my three favorite Christmas albums (in alphabetical order).

  1. Bing Crosby: White ChristmasBing Crosby's White Christmas: Nothing seems to sound right at Christmas without Bing crooning "White Christmas". My favorite Christmas movie is one of his, too - Holiday Inn, in which "White Christmas" debuted.









  2. The Carpenters: Christmas PortraitThe Carpenters Christmas Portrait: Seriously, just listening to Karen Carpenter's voice. Beautiful.












  3. Vince Guaraldi Trio: A Charlie Brown ChristmasVince Guaraldi Trio Charlie Brown Christmas: Evocative. Brings tears to your eyes, because the good music is so tightly tied in the collective memory of Americans to good ol' Charlie Brown and Charles Schultz' tale of a blockhead's Christmas.





As a bonus, my favorite all-time Christmas song: "Oh Come Oh Come Emmanuel".

What are your favorite Christmas songs and albums?

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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Caption Contest

I'm taking suggestions for a caption for this picture of Lil'E taken over the Thanksgiving holiday.
Lil'E at Thanksgiving
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Things that make me profoundly sad

GALVESTON — The 2-year-old girl known as Baby Grace was beaten with leather belts, held under water in a bathtub and slammed onto a tile floor in July, according to a statement her mother gave to investigators.
Read the whole story here.

I will never understand how anyone could do this to a child; much less the child's mother. Give me whatever psychological explanation, tell me they were high on drugs, or any other reasoning for why they would do this. I still won't understand.

I'm not angry at these people, though by all rights the world should be outraged. I'm beyond the anger and can only cry for this little girl battered and dead.

Friday, November 23, 2007

A holiday to remember

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

Family
I've been relaxing at my parents house since Tuesday night. My brother and sister-in-law, along with their seven year old boy and 20-month old girl, have been here to enjoy the time with our kids and my parents. That makes my entire immediate family here for three full days, the longest we've all been together in a while. Definitely the first time since Liler'E was born nine months ago. My niece has had a bit of a sinus infection, and Liler'E is pretty much over his ear infection. Sleep has been plentiful. Thanksgiving lunch was great - my uncle and aunt, their daughter and her husband and daughter came in and we had a great meal. We contributed a chocolate pecan pie (needed more chocolate) and ate much turkey and all the fixin's. We're headed home tomorrow and plan on stopping to visit Mrs. E's grandparents in Temple on the way. Overall, a great time with family.

Snow
Yes, you heard me right: snow! Starting around noon on Thanksgiving, the snow began to fall. It kept up all day and into the night, leaving about three inches on the ground. It was a beautiful, fine powder. Living in Houston, Lil'E has only seen snow once before, and never really seen it snowing or had the change to play in it. She had a blast! Snow balls, snow angels, leaving tracks, catching snowflakes on her tongue - the whole nine yards. The real challenge was to keep her from freezing her rear end off out there because she never wanted to come in. It's all melted by now (Friday afternoon), but it was fun while it lasted. My memories of Thanksgiving growing up in Abilene involved more short pants than heavy coats, but it was a beautiful sight.

Nephew
I said before that my entire immediate family was here at my parents house. That is not precisely true. I got to meet my nephew, my brother's son, for the first time at breakfast the day before Thanksgiving. He is 20. The son of my brother's high school girlfriend, he was given for adoption at birth. (The same adoption agency is who my brother and sister-in-law turned to for the adoption of their daughter.) As he turned eighteen, my brother had the chance to contact him for the first time, and he wanted to know his birth parents. They have gotten together a few times before, but this was my first chance to meet him. He is a music major at Hardin Simmons University here in Abilene, and plays the violin. My grandmother, his natural great-grandmother, played the violin in the Abilene Philharmonic, and even had a half-hour weekly radio show for a time (back in the 1940's). The resemblance to my brother is clear. The time with him was brief, but good. I look forward to getting to know him more in the future.

I hope your holiday has been as good as mine. Get your football watched and your shopping done. It's back to work next week, and looking to the end of the year. Who knows, maybe it'll snow in Houston for Christmas?

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Monday, November 19, 2007

A day in worship . . .

Norman Rockwell's Freedom to WorshipYesterday was a rough day for the Euphrony Family. Liler'E has had an ear infection, and his sleep has been short and fitful the last few days. Then, early Sunday morning, Lil'E threw up and was running a little fever. So, between the sick and the tired we did not make it to church services on Sunday morning. That does not mean we were not able to spend the day in worship.

While I watched the kids, Mrs. E did some shopping Sun day afternoon. Part of what she bought was a gift for a four-year old girl at
Medina Children's Home. When Lil'E saw the gift (a comforter for her bed) she asked what it was and who it was for. Mrs. E explained that it was for a little girl her age who did not have a mommy and daddy that could take care of her. This fact rocked her pre-schooler world.

As her eyes got bigger, and she contemplated how such a thing could be, I made a suggestion: "Lil'E, would you like to write a letter to her?" She agreed enthusiastically. Here is the letter she dictated and I transcribed.

Dear _____,
I have never seen you, but I want to give you this comforter for your bed. We are the same age. You are 4 and I am 4. If I see you, I know your name; it is _____. My name is _______. I love everybody I do know and everybody I don't know, and I love you.

Merry Christmas,
Deep theology and beautiful worship from the heart of a girl of four. So simple and caring, it makes me ashamed of the trappings I often find myself wrapped within.

Later that evening, I had to run an errand up to the church building to get some papers. Since it was mostly car time, I took Lil'E with me to give her a change to get out of the house. Because of where our building is located, we get a fair amount of traffic from people off the street looking for something or asking for a handout. As I was checking my box, a man and woman came up to us. They asked how old Lil'E was, and told me the story of how the woman's daughter in Oklahoma (who is the same age as Lil'E) was riding her bike and was hit, had to be flown to Fort Worth, and they needed gas money to go there right away. I lead them around the corner and filled up their gas tank, answering the questions Lil'E posed as to who they were and what we were doing.

Were they telling the truth, or just looking for a handout? You can file that under the list of question's I'll never get around to asking God in His kingdom. I just don't care; I'm grateful to have been there - to help or be suckered, whichever.

I'm also profusely grateful for the opportunity our family had to worship Jehovah and show Lil'E just what worship really is about.
2For day after day they seek me out; they seem eager to know my ways,
as if they were a nation that does what is right
and has not forsaken the commands of its God.
They ask me for just decisions and seem eager for God to come near them.
3'Why have we fasted,' they say, 'and you have not seen it?
Why have we humbled ourselves, and you have not noticed?'
"Yet on the day of your fasting, you do as you please and exploit all your workers.
4Your fasting ends in quarreling and strife, and in striking each other with wicked fists.
You cannot fast as you do today and expect your voice to be heard on high.
5Is this the kind of fast I have chosen, only a day for a man to humble himself?
Is it only for bowing one's head like a reed and for lying on sackcloth and ashes?
Is that what you call a fast, a day acceptable to the LORD?
6"Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?
7Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter--
when you see the naked, to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
8Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard.
9Then you will call, and the LORD will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.
"If you do away with the yoke of oppression, with the pointing finger and malicious talk,
10and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday.

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Sunday, November 18, 2007

Oh, yeah!

At least on of my sports teams seems to know how to get the job done. Way to go, Dynamo! Back to back MLS championships in your first two years here in H-town.
Houston Dynamo with MLS trophy
I got to go to last years game, and watched this years on TV (some of it, at least, as the kids have been sick and we're tired). Keep it up, guys!

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Friday, November 16, 2007

Bear with me . . .

Ho hum, just another day at work in the Alaskan oil fields. Looks like someone needs their morning coffee.

Office work

Is it just me, or should we be getting hazard pay for this?
Ladder to success

Think this could get me my big break with Cirque du Soleil?
Circus wannabe

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Wednesday, November 14, 2007

A modest proposition

Editor's Note: This post should in no way infer any criticism, jealously, or a fits of semi-conscious delirium on the part of the author. Okay, maybe the last; but definitely not the first two.

I have discussed this with Mrs. Euphrony, and she seems to be in agreement. So I throw out this modest proposition for
Kat and Jimmy.

Kat and Jimmy: We propose that we switch children for a week. This would not be anything trashy like ABC's
Wife Swap, but more along the lines of Ultimate Survivor: Suburbia. We're proposing a simple exchange of children for seven days, and the odds seem to be in your favor. You get two for three and go back to man-to-man coverage, while we get three for two and step up to the zone defense.

"But why?", you ask. Think of it like a foreign exchange situation, where you are able to learn of different cultures through a total immersion experience.

NAPS:
Mrs. E and I understand that your children take naps.
Even simultaneously. Our children take naps, as well. (Disclaimer: "Children" should not be construed to be plural. Liler'E takes naps as he is still too young to fully resist. Lil'E takes quiet time, where she goes into her room and colors and sings and plays with dolls for ten (10) minutes, after which she begins the routine of whining to come out every five (5) minutes.) Lil'E loves to play in her room for hours at a time. (Disclaimer: The hours of playtime in room occur between 9:00 p.m. and midnight.)

EATING:
We also understand that your children are good eaters, even liking and requesting
broccoli for dinner. Our children also love a variety of foods. They eat well from the mac & cheese food group, and the Halloween candy group is equally loved. They are more picky when it comes to the deep-fried foods, regularly consuming only corn dogs and chicken nuggets. Fruits, such as apples and bananas, are often requested; requests are also made for broccoli, peas, green beans, and squash (Disclaimer: Requests for all vegetables should not be taken to imply the request is to eat them, or even have them on a plate.)

PARENTAL SLEEP:
Rumor has it that you are, on occasion, able to have eight (8) consecutive hours of
uninterrupted sleep. Mrs. E was recently able to get eight hours of sleep, with only minor interruptions. In exchange, I only got four hours or sleep. Thus a healthy average of six hours of sleep was obtained by the parental units of our household. If the child exchange goes forward, you can expect similar nights of sound sleep. (Disclaimer: The phrase "sound sleep" should not be taken to imply that sleep will be solid. Rather, sleep will be full of sounds as Liler E is awake and either screaming or watching Baby Einsteins for between ninety (90) minutes and two (2) hours each night.)

ARTS:
Finally, we are lead to believe that your children are intelligent, with a
love of reading, and artistic skills. Our children also love reading, from classics like Hansel and Gretal to modern favorites like Junie B. Jones and the Yucky Blucky Fruitcake. They also like singing, even turning the entire day into a musical experience. (Disclaimer: By "musical experience", you should understand that the words that day will be delivered entirely in song, like a musical set to The Wonder Pets.) The Daliesque artwork of Lil'E is on display below, depicting an ink drawing of me just after getting a hair cut last night - I have my short hair, my short pants, and my shirt. Special attention was given to my nose, ears, and hands (which have an average of six fingers each).

Euphrony in ink by Little Euphrony

PLEA OF DESPERATION:
So, Kat and Jimmy, should you elect to participate in this once in a lifetime opportunity, please let us know. We love our boy and girl madly, and would love yours for the week we had them as well. Likely, I wake up from this dream and realize that I was only typing in my sleep all night long. Okay, wake up *now*. *NOW*! WAKE UP EUPHRONY! Somebody please help me!!!!!!!!!

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Friday, November 09, 2007

Elementary Education

What you may learn in Houston elementary schools these days:

  1. Calling a woman "miss" means "mistress"; and "mister" means "slave master".
  2. Sugar is cocaine.
  3. McDonald's should be called "Crack Donald's" and Burger King should be called "Murder King" because the hormones in the food will kill you.
  4. Hair permanents and makeup cause cancer.
  5. Toothpaste contains rat poison.
I'm sure that the bogus moon landings and this whole "round earth" malarkey were debunked by the sub, as well. The substitute teacher who taught a 5th graders this (as part of a health class) has promised to stick to the script from now on. Parents are, understandably, not satisfied.

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Thursday, November 08, 2007

Recipe

Add a group of people wearing this shirt


and a plate of yummy fajitas with hot as hades jalapenos


with a group of two-dozen coworkers

at a good restaurant.

Repeat weekly. But watch where you park.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

*slurp* question revisited

So yesterday I posed the question of what you would do if someone around you occasionally slurped his drink. I admit, I am the one with the drugstore blues.

And the person in question, from who's point of view I was asking, is a guy who sits two cubes down from me at work.

He answered the question yesterday, but not in a nicely framed comment. No, instead he started yelling at me from his chair two cubes down and proceeded to rant about my annoying behaviors for the next five minutes. How many of you would have responded in this way? (Delicious irony: 90 minutes later we both sat in a safety meeting where the topic was . . . workplace violence - physical, verbal, and psychological.)

I admit, the slurp happens. I don't hang on to the slurp, drawing it out while I attempt to suck every last microliter of beverage from the cup through my straw; nevertheless, when the drink is disappearing a noise is made. His tirade just nearly killed the day for me (but I thank God for being able to go home to Mrs. E and the kids and have a blast trick or treating last night, allowing me to get this out of my head for a while).

I won't say that I didn't get a little snarky in my reply to his rant (okay, I actually did offer to buy him some earplugs) but over the last five years I have tried dang hard to be professional, genial, non-offensive, and friendly with this guy. I seriously want to act Christ-like, not violent or rude or provoking further confrontations. Because of this guy's peeves, I have done such things as taken to looking the other way as I walk by his desk, because to have eyes cast on him bothers him (another point over which he has blown a gasket, I guess feeling that I was either spying on him or could not stop basking in his manly glory - yeah, right). I have also pretty well stopped listening to music over my computer and mainly use headphones now, despite the fact that they invariably bug my ears after a while, because the music was too loud and he hates my music and doesn't want to hear it (other yelling sessions came over this in this past). All this, to try and keep peace in the office, to no avail.

And, the thing is, despite his assertion that I bug everyone with my numerous flaws, no one else has ever complained to me about what I do. No one. Ever. The guy who sits in the cube between us - the music was not too loud (I asked). And the guy on the other side of me, no problems either. I know that this guy just plain and simple has a problem with me, and nothing I do (short of disappearing) will make him happy.

I still try. All the while biting my tongue on the laundry list of his annoying behaviors that I could throw back in his face. It wouldn't do any good, and it would not be the right thing to do. Oh, I still want to, but I won't. We all have our quirks that drive others crazy, a simple fact. We deal with them, and try to minimize our own out of love, but they will never cease completely.

I'm just venting here. I've put up with this nonsense for the better part of five years, and I expect it will continue until he probably leaves in about a year (he's working on a law degree). Please pray for me to have patience and a thick skin with this guy. And praying for him to chill would not be a bad thing, either.

Thanks.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Serious question

And I would actually like some serious answers. I know, it's tempting to be sarcastic; but please keep it serious.

Situation: A person you are around a lot (say a co-worker who maybe sits near you) drinks several drinks throughout the day. When the drink is almost empty, there is a slurping sound from the straw - admittedly an annoying sound. With the drink empty, the moment is over.

Response: What, if anything, do you do?

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

I'm with ya', Chuck

Peanuts

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Free Music: "When the Saints"

This week, iTunes has selected Sara Groves' new song "When the Saints" from Tell Me What You Know as its Discovery Download. You can download it for free here.

Trust me, you want to download this one. The album releases November 6th

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Friday, October 26, 2007

Participating in the Disney Excess

Disney-MGM Sorcerer's HatAnd lovin' it!

Mrs. E, Lil'E and I have been in Disney World this week. Fully indulging in the excess that Walt instigated. For those coming here and not bringing a trailer of food to sustain yourself for the stay, I suggest the Disney Dining plan: you get one counter service (burger/sandwich/etc. with side, drink, and dessert), one snack, and one table service meal every day. The table meal (at Disney prices, usually about $30 per person) easily covers the cost of the plan and leaves the other meals "free".

Lines at It's a Small WorldThey say that the British have perfected waiting in lines, but Disney has taken it to a new level. Maybe that's why we've heard so many European accents this week. Here is the line to get in to ride "It's A Small World".

Lil'E and Dan ZanesSo, anyway, we're went trick or treating in the Magic Kingdom tonight. Yesterday afternoon we got to sing and dance with Dan Zanes (of the Del Fuegos) - good music, which happens to be for kids and families. Here is Lil'E getting his autograph. Confidentially, she liked seeing Johnny and the Sprites on Sunday more; but Dan Zanes has funny socks.

Night MagicToday we're off to Epcot, going to have some dinner with princesses tonight, and breakfast tomorrow with Pooh and friends. If the weather participates (in question) we will head for home and see our Lil'er E tomorrow night.

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Friday, October 19, 2007

What are you doing?


Coming October 24th! Read more here.

(Side note: this is my 200th post. I think it's a great thing to talk about for #200, don't you?)

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Things not conducive to a worshipful experience

Having teens randomly throwing candy for ten minutes while you and others attempt to worship.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

busy . . . can't talk now

Life's crazy right now. No time to talk. Brief update. Out of breath from typing so fast.

  1. At conference last week. 14-hour days. Dry weather parched my skin. Nice weekend after I got home.
  2. Begin two papers from collaboration with rheological big-wig at MIT. Catch up on background info.
  3. Review patent. Late on that. Must finish by Thursday.
  4. At intra-company conference this week. Presenting paper and receiving group award for new technology.
  5. Just requested to attend meeting tomorrow at which several people likely to have their posteriors masticated by VP. Not me (whew). Not pretty.
  6. Preparing for Inspired to Action to launch next week. I'm editor for articles and interviews. I'm crazy to add this, but feel its important.
  7. Family vacation to DisneyWorld next week (Sat - Sat). Crazy good times to be had by all. Not taking a bit of work with me! Ha! Take that, you people who have more than quadrupled my travel time this year!
  8. Preparing to be humbled by the ridiculous work load on my desk when I return from vacation, ending essentially three weeks out of office.
  9. Wondering how babies survive teething.
  10. Wondering how adults survive baby's teething.
So, are you up to anything?

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Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Things to remember to survive a conference

High everybody! Greetings from Salt Lake City, home of a bunch of Mormons, a big salty lake thingy, and the 79th Annual Society of Rheology Conference. (Sorry, Seth, but no Alps.) While I'm away from Humid-ston and enjoying the cool, dry Utah air, I thought it might be nice to share a few of the more important lessons I've learned over the years when attending a conference.

  1. Wear heavy clothes. This one is potentially the most important thing to remember. Even if the meeting is in Death Valley, they will manage to chill the conference rooms to sub-Arctic conditions. I've actually seen the foolish and unprepared end up like Ötzi, the frozen Stone Age hunter. So, watch out.
  2. Johnny 5
  3. The opening plenary lecture will be esoteric. It will be over your head. It will also interest only 1-2% of a crowd of people in that field. Be careful of this opening lecture: if not prepared, you brain will short circuit and the rest of the conference will be worthless.
  4. Similar to #2, pace yourself. There is only so much a human brain can process in a single day before it begins to ooze out your ears. If you fail to pace yourself, expect the label of "vegetable" to be attached to the rest of your career.
  5. (For men only.) Even in a scientific society such as this, there will be one or two ladies who look and dress like porn stars. Don't let them distract you - they are probably also smarter than you, and will make you look like a fool. And, married men, you shouldn't be going there anyway.
  6. Inevitably, you will run into former colleagues at these things. Some are happy folk, who love their life. Others are bitter. Be nice to the bitter ones, who tell you the same stories of woe every year. They need an ear to hear their stories. Plus, this keeps you from being labeled "the jerk I used to work with" among your peer group.
I hope these little tips will help you survive. They are also equally applicable to business meetings, school reunions, and ping pong tournaments.

What other tips did I miss. Please share them with me.

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Friday, October 05, 2007

Impaneled

A few weeks ago, my darling wife acted in the Birth Play (by Karen Brody). After the last performance, the cast and family/friends gathered at Star Pizza to chow down. At that time, the organizer of the play here in Houston noted my "excellent co-parenting skills"; as a result, she has asked me to sit on a dad's panel at this Saturday's Birth Fair. Being a good husband, and of course and "excellent co-parent", I accepted this honor. And so, from 11:25 until noon, me and two other guys will sit and talk about giving birth.

Don't laugh.

Really. Stop it. Now.

Why can't a group of men sit around and talk about birth, expressing their opinions on how it should be and how the system should be different? Without reading from cue cards prepared by his significant other, or being castrated, that is.

Seriously, though; if you think a man only sits the sidelines in this, then the man you're thinking of is leaving his wife out in the cold. From spending nine months of marginal sleep (when one can't sleep, neither sleeps) to running to get a bowl when the chuck comes up. From getting that bowl of pickle gelato from the Kosher/Italian deli she heard about in Parents Magazine, to comforting her through contractions and birth pains. The man is involved. While she may curse us for making a donation and leaving her to do all the hard work (especially when the baby is crowning), a good man is there the whole time to support and encourage. And, despite where the bambino grows, it took two to get there and it takes two to go from there.

So, on Saturday I'll be talking about why we (and I emphasize we) chose to have #2 naturally. Even after a cesarean section. Even after Prudence, the triage nurse, constantly belittled us for our stupid decision.

Empathy BellyMale LactationBut, I only have one stipulation. This ain't gonna be no froufrou panel. Expect a manly belch or fart, if called for. And I may take a fifth of Jack, just to let the newbie dads know you won't have to wear a fake pregnancy belly or induce male lactation to be a part of this experience.

Can I get a boo ya for manly birth and child-rearing?

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Thursday, October 04, 2007

The Peanut Gallery

Lil'E's Peanut Gallery

The other day, I went up to Lil'E's room. The previous evening's bedtime requests had included that she be allowed to get a couple of her dolls out to take up to her room. Apparently, she meant more than a "couple" and had intentions. Witness what I am calling the peanut gallery: compared to Lil'E, they all have the cheap seats. However, the best seats definitely went to the Care Bears and her elephant, Phillip Johnny Bob. Over the next couple of days the audience expanded, until finally one night most were evicted and the remainder ended up piled at the foot of her bed.

In other news, Lil'er E has been in full teething mode. His first popped up last Saturday. The teething tablets we had been giving him, to ease the pain - do nothing now. He is on a strict diet of milk, oatmeal, and Tylenol. In fact, when I went to give him some yesterday afternoon, Lil'E decided to make up a happy song to celebrate the occasion. In it, the name, pink color, and yummy flavor of Children's Tylenol were extolled. Praises be for Tylenol.

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