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Articles: life: 2010 November

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Page 1

Handy (I Think)
Sunday, 2010 November 28 - 10:43 pm
When we were getting our flooring installed, the installers asked Amy if I was "handy"... meaning, was I capable of moving all the furniture out of the way and putting it back without their help. Amy said, "Well, he thinks he's handy."


Now, to be fair, she only said it so they would move all the furniture for us without charging us. But it's one of those statements that I'll never let her live down. And it always makes me want to prove myself by taking on household projects.

When lightning struck near our house this summer, it knocked out a number of things, like our cable modem and our dryer. Also our upstairs cable TV has been on the fritz; the signal has been weak and some channels haven't been coming in at all.

Now, the cable modem was simple: I just took it to the Time Warner office and they replaced it with a new one. But as far as the dryer and the cable TV, I knew that calling for repairs would require a time-consuming service call that would require me to sit at home all day... and would probably cost me a few hundred bucks for the pleasure.

So instead, I fixed the dryer by looking through the service manual (which was available online, but also turned out to be hidden behind the front panel of the dryer). I went through the tech's diagnostic procedures, and they indicated that a new logic board was needed. I ordered the part on the internet, took the dryer apart, and installed the new board. Bingo: the dryer works perfectly again.

And as far as the upstairs cable, I determined that the wiring through the house wasn't up to par. It was the inferior RG-59 coax, not the RG-6 coax needed for digital cable. There was absolutely no way I was going to replace all the existing wiring: it ran up through an exterior wall, through the attic, and back down into our bedroom. So I ran a new cable through the floor, through a first floor closet, up through the first floor ceiling and through the floor just outside our bedroom. And hey, now all the channels are working again.

These are the kinds of things that make me feel like I've proven my worth as a husband. Now I'm sure there are plenty of independent women that are capable of doing these kinds of things, but look: we men like to feel useful by doing these kinds of things. I mean, what good are we if we don't do stuff like this?

It makes us think we're handy, anyway.
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Posted by Ken in: life

Friday, 2010 November 26 - 11:58 pm
Sigh. I have nothing meaningful to write about today. And I was going to post a picture of otters but FTP upload isn't working. I'll try to be more interesting tomorrow.

Edit: FTP upload now working! Enjoy the otters.

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Posted by Ken in: life

Gobble Gobble
Thursday, 2010 November 25 - 10:26 pm
Happy Thanksgiving day, also known as "Celebration of American Gluttony". We had Thanksgiving with friends today, and by my calculations, we had enough food to feed everyone six times over. I mean, we had over forty pounds of meat among fifteen people. That is insanity. Also I made two quarts of gravy.

It kind of makes me feel bad that I drove by two homeless guys by the freeway without tossing them a turkey drumstick.

For my many similarly-stuffed American friends... let's be thankful today that we can afford to eat so luxuriously. We live in a country where food is plentiful, and our biggest worry tomorrow is how to find the best parking spot as we shop for our third video game console and fourth television set. We are surrounded by people whom we love and who make us laugh. These are wonderful times.
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Posted by Ken in: life

Punk Ass
Friday, 2010 November 19 - 11:44 pm
I went curling this evening. (All my readers know that I'm in a curling league, right?)

We curl at a hockey rink. Immediately before our ice time, there's usually a youth hockey league that plays... a bunch of 13-year-olds, from what I can tell. Once they finish, the Zamboni runs over the ice, and then people from our club bring out the curling rocks and prepare the ice surface. As I arrived and sat on the bleachers to change my shoes, the ice preparation was going on and the hockey players were departing the locker room.

One of those 13-year-olds yelled over the glass to the people preparing the ice. He yelled, "Women's sport!" with a sneer, as if that were a put-down, and as if that were any more true for curling than it was for hockey.

And then he yelled it again.

Maybe he didn't notice that I was there with a curling broom in my hand. Or maybe he didn't care. But our eyes met as he gleefully repeated his brilliant slur. Four options entered my mind:

(a) I could explain to him that curling was certainly not a women's-only sport, and also that there were plenty of women who played hockey;

(b) I could tell him that it was cowardly and hateful to display a false sense of braggadocio towards something he clearly did not understand, when seemingly protected by a wall of anonymity (and glass);

(c) I could tell him that curling was a game of athleticism and finesse, and were he to try it, he would understand that;

(d) I could call him a punk-ass.

I looked him square in the eye and chose option (d).

Was that the right thing to do? Probably not. But frankly, I have had it with rudeness. I cannot abide the fact that some people think it's okay to do whatever they want, despite who may be hurt by their actions, without any consequences. I cannot stand the fact that some people find it necessary to put other people down to elevate their own status. And on top of it all, I hate when kids pick up these habits, kids who have absolutely no standing in proper society but display a sense of entitlement as if they were kings of the world.

The kid seemed genuinely taken aback. First he asked me, "Are you talking to me?" He didn't say it in a confrontational Robert Deniro-esque manner; I think he couldn't believe that an adult would actually address him that way. I said, "Yes."

Then he asked me, "What did you say?" Again, he seemed to just be asking for clarification. So I said, slowly, "Punk. Ass." And he was dumbfounded.

I glared at him for a moment, finished putting on my shoes, and walked away. As I was just getting out of earshot, I heard him say to his friend sulkily, "That's not even a real word." That made me regret my phrasing to some degree. I should have gone with "little shit", which would have perhaps been within a modern-day 13-year-old's vocabulary.

I am both sorry and glad for what I did. Mostly glad. Maybe, just maybe, when that kid gets the urge to yell something idiotic in the future, he'll look around first for a weird-looking Asian guy wielding a curling broom, and think better of it.
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Posted by Ken in: life

Thursday, 2010 November 18 - 11:40 pm
Question of the day: is $10 cheddar cheese actually five times better than $2 cheddar cheese? I mean, I like cheese, and I like good cheese, but when it comes to cheddar... well, I'm not sure I could distinguish the $10 cheddar in a blind taste test.

I was debating this question today when buying ingredients for the company Thanksgiving potluck tomorrow. The store brand was $2 a pound. The specialty brand was $10 a pound. The store proprietors surely would have frowned upon me taking a sample taste.

I'm mixing this cheese with two other cheeses, along with butter and shiitake mushrooms and onion and bacon. I'm thinking, my co-workers will not notice the extra $8 of cheese quality. And when some of them are bringing a $3 store-brand pumpkin pie, or $2 worth of bag salad... well, perhaps they won't have reason to complain.

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Posted by Ken in: foodlife

Vegas 2010
Saturday, 2010 November 13 - 11:55 am
These are the guys I would trust with my life.

And here we are at Del Frisco's.

I look forward to our annual Las Vegas trip every year. It's not the food or the gambling or the shows, though all those things are great. The main thing is the common bond that we share: we all spent our painful adolescent years together, and because of that, we have no shame in front of each other. We've already seen all of each others' insecurities and foibles; there is no pretense. These guys are the closest thing to brothers I have.

See you all next year.
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Posted by Ken in: life

Sunday, 2010 November 7 - 1:51 pm
Last day in Vegas. Lost $200 the last day but I have plenty of fun memories. Now to try to survive the plane ride home...
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Posted by Ken in: life

Las Vegas
Friday, 2010 November 5 - 1:01 pm
I'm in Las Vegas this weekend so posting will be terse. It's kind of nice to spend a few days not thinking about work, politics, and frozen lunches. On tap for tonight: dinner at Del Frisco's. Yum.
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Posted by Ken in: life

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