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Monday, April 30, 2007

Smoke Break

I give my best at work. I try hard to work diligently and to add to both the company and to the field in which I work. I try not to let (un)professional jealously get in my way.

But they've broken me.

I'm considering the unthinkable: taking up smoking. Sure, I'm deathly allergic to cigarette smoke. Sure, it may shorten my life expectancy. But consider the advantages! Instead of working eight hours a day, broken up by lunch and the occasional bathroom break, I could be working much less as I feed my addiction with periodic 10-15 minute smoke breaks. If I were to jump into the deep end, say 3-4 packs a day, I could reduce my actual work time to around 4 hours a day. All done legally within corporate and federal guidelines!

And don't forget the social benefits. Rather than being walled off from the "community of smokers" I would open up new networking avenues. I could schmooze with the big wigs as they feed their addictions. This could seriously advance my job possibilities! I'll no longer be that guy who is always confused for the other guy who smokes but bears about as much resemblance to me as Yoda does to Obi-Wan. I'll be my own mistaken identity guy who smokes. There's no telling how much work I can avoid as a result of e-mails sent to someone besides myself!

Milk Chocolate CigarsI've even selected the brands I will begin with. First, to look more manly, I have selected these cigars (right). I understand they have a rich, chocolate flavor reminiscent of those little hollow chocolate Easter eggs. I'm almost looking forward to this! Candy CigarettesFor more common usage, I don't think I should stick with these rich cigars (I don't want to impact my weight too much), and so I have selected theses cigarettes. They are reputed to have a chalky, sugary sweetness that is simply irresistible.

My plan seems foolproof. I'm sure you guys will shoot a few holes in it; just don't ruin my dream of a lazy life at full salary, please.

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Thursday, April 26, 2007

This is my life: Part 2

Over The Hedge
thrush - noun a disease that is caused by a fungus of the genus Candida (C. albicans), occurs especially in infants and children, and is marked by white patches in the oral cavity (Webster's Medical Dictionary, Unabridged. Merriam-Webster, 2005.)

thrush - noun An icky, painful white coating of a child's inner check that makes then grumpy as all get out and not eat very well. Side effects include temporary insanity in parents as they try to figure out why the child is crying for no apparent reason, also resulting in loss of sleep for the whole family. (Euphrony's ad lib Dictionary, 2007.)

There's a fungus among us. Lil'er E is normally a happy baby, but has not been the last few days. We've got medicine, and he is already feeling better, eating better, and acting more content. Now its time for us to try and get some sleep.

Edvard Munch's ScreamAs a side-note, I especially appreciate the comic's subtle reference to Edvard Munch's Scream (pictured right) in the father's face. Perhaps it is a little exaggerated for this situation, but sometimes it sure feels right on the mark.

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Monday, April 23, 2007

Get To Know Me: Nerd Edition®

Not too long ago, I did a version of Get To Know Me: Geek Edition® which included an excerpt of a just finished paper for an upcoming conference. Well, two months have passed and I have successfully presented that paper; but I also moved on to the next paper (it seems all I've worked on lately is papers). I just finished writing that paper (you can take a breath and relax, I'm not including any of this paper on my blog), and it is due to the combined mental strain of solo-authoring multiple papers and the mind-numbing effects of sleep deprivation that accompanies a new child that I have not thought many deep theological thoughts lately.

Well, that's partially true. I've been preparing to teach a four-Sunday class at church on the Holy Spirit and I plan on putting those lessons up here, as well. But that's not until May, so in the meantime I will again entertain and stupefy with another in the Get to Know Me series. I now present the Nerd Edition®.

  1. I'm a engineer. I'm an engineer with an advanced degree. Enough said.

  2. I don't laugh at Dilbert, I sympathize with him.
    Dilbert or Euphrony

  3. I always have a pen in my shirt pocket. The subtext here is that I always wear a shirt with a pocket. Hey, as the saying goes, they're handy!

  4. Periodic Table tiesI own these lovely ties, and actually wear them.

  5. Periodic Table shirtI once owned a shirt exactly like this one, displaying the periodic table with the radioactive elements glowing in the dark. Mrs. E made me toss it on account of too many holes. Such a pity.

  6. For relaxation, I do crossword puzzles and Sudoku. I say for relaxation, because they really require little mental effort on my part. The Sudoku is all about number patterns, which come easily to me, and I can do the hardest ones in my head in around 15 minutes. As to crosswords, I do the New York Times puzzle in ink, and usually finish the whole thing. (The trick there is that puzzle authors have a bag of staples they always fall back on, and once you know those you can fill in a good part of most puzzles.)

  7. Despite #6 demonstrating my mental prowess, I can walk up to a person I've worked with every day for the last six years and forget their name. Pathetic, I know.

  8. I know how to put that little "circle R" ® symbol on my blog. It's not that hard, really.
The only possible redemption from nerd-dom I have is found in my wife (she'd never call herself cool, but at least she's not a nerd like me) and the fact that I seem to virtually hang out with some relatively cool bloggers. But even that is not enough to fully redeem one so nerdly as me.

Here's your opportunity, fellow nerds. Let's get it all out here. I'll let you cry on my virtual shoulder when the work bully makes fun of you. Share. I feel your pain.

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Friday, April 20, 2007

L or R

Hi, I'm EuphronyI'm tired today, so I'm just going to ask everyone: are you a lefty or a righty?

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Thursday, April 19, 2007

Who's cuter?

Kat and I seem to have a small disagreement as to whose new child is cuter. I thought I would put it forward to the readers - Who do you think is cuter, Lil'er Euphrony or Kat's Smallest Person? Pictures are below. (Since it is my blog, I may have taken a few liberties here, but I believe it to be a completely unbiased poll. And remember, this is all in good humor, a friendly competition between two internet acquaintances.)

Lil'er E
Lil'er Euphrony
Kat's Smallest Person
Kat's Smallest Person
I'm gonna get into so much trouble for this, I just know it.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

This is my life

Baby Blues

This is my life. I signed up for it; I just didn't realize all that it would entail (not that I'm complaining, mind you, I love my kids to pieces). Rather than talking big issues or art with friends, I talk about how Lil'E has started snorting when she laughs or how Liler'E goes into vapor lock when he really gets to screaming. I do have adult conversations, sometimes, and not just about work. Really.

Note the change in wardrobe in the above comic strip. Even the drinks go from "adult" drinks to ones with little umbrellas.

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Monday, April 16, 2007

Free Music

MusicFor those of you out there who enjoy finding free music, might I recommend dropping by FreeCCM. Recently redesigned, this site (which I have blogged about before) is run by INO Records, home of some great artists. Currently, they are offering free downloads (registration required) from new group 33Miles, Derek Webb, Disciple, Echoing Angels, MercyMe, Phil Wickham, and Sara Groves. I already had the Sara Groves and Phil Wickham songs, but I still was able to get five free songs here today. Sure, the whole sight is a big ad for what is going on with INO artists, but if they are nice enough to let me get some free music, then I'll happily stop by.

It's been a good week for me with free music. Not counting the five songs gifted me by Kat, I've downloaded 18 new songs for free in the past five days, introducing me to the music of five artists whose music I had not heard before and giving me bonuses from five others whose music I do know - not a bad week. This has been an active download week, but I probably average around a half-dozen free downloads a week. How about you: how often do you download free music?

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Friday, April 13, 2007

Serious prayer request

Mrs. E just called and told me the 4-month old son of some friends is in the hospital in very bad shape. Fractured skull, blood in the brain, non-responsive. They suspect that either their nanny accidentally dropped him down the stairs and doesn't want to own up to it, or that the nanny has been shaking and beating him. They honestly don't know at this point how bad the damage is and what his chances of recovery are. On top of this, they have CPS investigating both the nanny and them. (They also have a boy Little Euphrony's age.)

Please pray for them right now. They need God's help so much right now.

UPDATE: We've a little more information on how the baby is doing. Right now, his life is not in danger; in fact, the swelling in his head went down on its own enough that they decided not to do surgery and he should be able to go home on Monday. However, he is blind right now and they do not know if his vision will return or to what degree. The doctors say it is definitely shaken baby syndrome; they found multiple stress fractures in his head - one new and one old. CPS is still investigating, but have not taken steps to remove the children from the parents (this would indicate to me they more suspect the nanny). The mother is not handling this very well right now, having a very hard time accepting what is happening. The doctors say that very rarely in these cases will the child end up 100% normal, so the family has a lot of adjusting to do. Please keep praying.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Dear Santa Kat,

Major AwardI'm writing this letter to claim my major award from the captcha contest. I've been called a "funny guy" in the past (Mrs. Euphrony says it was done mockingly, but I think she's just jealous of my wit) and I'm glad that through shear volume I found some way of making you laugh and causing the stitches from your c-section to hurt. If the pictured item is not readily available, I will gladly claim the offered five free songs. While it could never match the "glow of electric sex" that this lamp would give, I will thoroughly enjoy the listening of them. Below is my list of song requests.

  1. Kate Rusby "The White Cockade"
    Beautiful voice, simply mesmerizing. My favorite song, which she does with her husband John McCusker on his album Yella Hoose, is "Night Visiting Song". Alas, iTunes is incomplete.
  2. Jason Gray "The Cut"
    I've been meaning to check out Jason Gray for a long time (since way before his name change to "Gray"). This is a good opportunity to do so. As a bonus, it features Sara Groves!
  3. Anúna "Siúil, A Rúin"
    Best known for their work with Riverdance, they've been around for longer than that. Great vocal artists.
  4. Gaelic Storm "The Beggarman"
    Best known as the "steerage band" in James Cameron's Titanic, this group puts some real energy into jigs and reels. Listen to their music and you can't help but tap your foot.
  5. Huey Lewis and the News "Do You Believe in Love"
    Just because.
Santa Kat, please bring me my major award soon. I've been a good Euphrony all year long, and I have even left a bowl of warm milk and some tuna on the back porch for you, just to say thanks. I'll be looking for your tiny Kat sleigh and eight tiny mice pulling it. Meow, meow, meow, Merry Captcha!

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Monday, April 09, 2007

Prayer for a friend

A good friend of ours, ErinLo, recently found out that, despite the unlikelihood of it, she was pregnant. This past week, at ~9-weeks into the pregnancy, she lost the baby. Having gone through this about 18 months ago, Mrs. Euphrony and I know how she and her husband are feeling right now. Here is what she wrote on her blog about this:

It's always been a word I have hated. If you "misspell" something, you have spelled it incorrectly. If you "misunderstand", you've understood something incorrectly. Doesn't it follow that if you "miscarry", you've carried something incorrectly?

Don't even get me started on the term "spontaneous abortion". The sight of it makes my stomach cringe.

Nonetheless, that is what we are facing right now. It started on Monday evening and with a little help on Friday, this pregnancy will be completely over.

Yes, we are sad. Yes, I feel guilt. Somehow, at the same time, I feel peace and comfort in knowing that although I don't understand at all why the Lord gives and takes away like He does, He knows what He is doing and sees the bigger picture. In my humanness, all I see is this tiny little puzzle piece- this piece that hurts- that causes such sorrow- that makes us mourn the loss of a precious soul! But, God, in His perfectness, is going to someday show us how this was all just part of His wonderful plan.

So, for now, I'm resting in knowing HE knows. He also knows my sorrow. He feels my hurt.

And somehow in the midst of this storm, I have an indescribable, wonderful, amazing Peace.
It is a hard thing to lose a baby, even one not yet born. As the excitement builds after you find out you're expecting to the low of watching this child pass from your care into God's, it is a roller coaster ride. Erin and Jeff are handling this well, it seems, but please pray for them to continue to know His peace. Pray that Mrs. E and I can continue to support and encourage them as best we can right now.

They've been through this before, with an ectopic pregnancy a few years ago. Erin, who is something of a singer/songwriter, wrote the song I've posted below after that loss. Through an anonymous donation, she was able to record it and a few other songs onto a CD that they then sold to defray the costs of adopting a beautiful girl from Viet Nam.

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Wednesday, April 04, 2007

So much for spitballs

Once upon a time, when an elementary or high school classroom was left unattended by a teacher for a few minutes, a few crazy things would happen. When the cat's away, the mice will play, right? Spitballs would fly, perhaps a tack or whoopee cushion would be placed in the teacher's chair. In my case, on the occasions this would happen, a few friends and I would break out some cards and play poker. Some people did really crazy things: I remember one kid who used a rubber band to shoot paper clips at others, and other who stuck a paper clip into an electrical outlet (ouch!).

These activities are too tame, now. Apparently, the in thing to do is to
have group sex in front of the rest of the class (follow the link to read a news story on this). Five 5th graders - I'm talking 11 and 12 year old kids - in New Orleans have been charged with obscenity for doing just this. I must say, I'm shocked.

Okay, maybe I'm not shocked. We live in a society where the line between the normal, the acceptable, and perhaps slightly entertaining actions of people is blurred and shifted into the unacceptable. What is considered too far? Brant Hansen
just blogged about something along these lines, talking about Britney Spears. With her, it's apparently acceptable to the public for her to party all night, flash her crotch, kiss Madonna, and act like a tramp. But if she shaves her head or (gasp) forgets to buckle up her toddler in the car, then she is considered to have crossed the line. I agree with Brant when he avers that the line was crossed long ago for her, and for many others as well. Given this state of acceptable celebrity behavior, is it really any surprise that kids will do what they see?

Mrs. Euphrony has a big problem with "adult" cartoons. She readily recognizes that they are made with adult themes for more mature audiences to watch; what bothers her is the presentation of these shows in a child-friendly medium. Not only are cartoons child-friendly, they are enticing and enthralling to younger children. For example, last night the family went to get some ice cream and the place we went had a TV that was showing King of the Hill. Seeing a cartoon, Lil'E was immediately enthralled by the show and, as she watched, was exposed to at least two curse words and other situations I did not what her exposed to. All this, over rainbow sherbet with mini marshmallows. I loved The Simpsons but I refuse to watch it, now, because I don't want my kids watching it. I know it's for adults, and contains more mature themes, but the point it that they don't know that. So I'll agree with Mrs. E that these adult cartoons (whether intentionally or unintentionally) pander to the humor of the mature and to the distortion of morals for the younger viewer. We regularly eat at a pizza place which has the Simpson's video game. Every time we leave there, I'm having to explain to Lil'E (who loves to watch the games) that it is not okay for her to hit other people, even if she hates them (her exact question). I try to stear her to Ms. Packman, instead.

And, in case you're wondering, cigarette companies were taken to task in court for similar practices and beer companies may soon feel the same wrath. The wrath of people who object to the undue influence these people have over their children, but bask in the influence of pop stars and the "famous for being famous".

One more thought in this little rant. On Brant's post, and in another recently, I replied with the following observation and question. I think it bears more consideration than it has been given by anyone I've seen. Harkening back a couple of years to the famous nipple-gate incident of the 2004 Super Bowl, lets consider the outrage that ensued. Was the horror and shame in the accidental exposure of a woman's breast? (Tell me that the search engines are not filled with people looking for just this accidental exposure of their favorite stars.) Or was the terrible part of the incident that it was done acting out a part of the song basically describing violence against women? (Justin Timberlake sang about ripping her clothes off, and then proceeded to forcibly grab her and do just that.) Or was the true tragedy that we only noticed the nipple and not the violence?

Sex in the classroom - not so shocking anymore, is it?

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Monday, April 02, 2007

El Guapo

El GuapoIn a way, each of us has an El Guapo to face. For some, shyness might be their El Guapo. For others, a lack of education might be their El Guapo. For us, El Guapo is a big, dangerous man who wants to kill us. But as sure as my name is Lucky Day, the people of Santa Poco can conquer their own personal El Guapo, who also happens to be *the actual* El Guapo!

Who or what is your El Guapo?

For me, El Guapo is one of two things: french fries or oreos. This is a problem right now, as Sonic has yummy fries and a fudge oreo milkshake.


Mrs. Euphrony has enticed me: she challenged me to loose ten pounds, with the reward being the above-mentioned oreo shake. The game's afoot!

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