Wrapping wreck

We neglected to teach our eldest daughter the finer points of package wrapping.


Happy Birthday, Brother

Yep. He’s a touch older than in this picture (he was the lead mechanical engineer making this thing fly, in one year):

The Aerospace Genius and one of his creations.

The Aerospace Genius and one of his creations.


May you have many more!

I have some OCD; also, my wife gets me.

Just went to the kitchen to get a drink. Went to the table to ask my lovely and patient wife how I could help with her sewing.

(This is a transparent thing all men do to make sure we get full credit for Caring; this is also transparent to our wives as a silly thing we do to keep from being Blamed).

Couldn’t help but notice the pad under her sewing machine was upside down, as the tag was up.

“I’d like to help you by getting the pad right-side up”, I said helpfully.
“It’s fine, it’s been like this for days” she said, thinking this would be mollifying. Silly girl.
“No, really, I’d like to help you with this”.
That’s when she grabbed her shears and cut off the tag.
“Cheating”, said I.
“Over”, said she.

I think she may really understand me. Still, I’ll turn the pad over soon.

Argo – a bad movie review

Tonight I took a beautiful woman to dinner and a movie, and I chose (with assent) Argo based on the recommendation of friends. I have good friends.

I won’t actually review the movie, that’s what Rotten Tomatoes is for.

I will tell you a funny story.

We were driving away from the theater (all of 6 in the hall on a Tuesday night) when I said: “Hey, a movie where the Americans are the good guys”,

to which my lovely wife said

“Well, it’s about actual Americans”.

There ya go. A movie review.


PS: I need to learn to write with fewer I’s.

Well, that’s at least new

Tonight we had house alarm false #3 in about 6 weeks. Geez. Gift baskets for my neighbors.

To the alarm panel I go, and it tells me it’s a glassbreak downstairs. This isn’t good, as were I looking to break into the house I’d do it though the basement (and thus the glassbreaks, motion sensors, punjii-pits and laser traps).

So, to the bottom of the stair I go, and for the first time in my house I’m getting really spooked: someone is breathing heavily on the other end of the long room! I sweep the room behind me, and go to have a look, with the Voice of Doom in my right hand and a suddenly tremulous flashlight in the left. I clear the entire area, and nobody there, but the sound remains.

Then I hear a sharp noise behind me. I looked up to hear sound coming out of a glassbreak detector. Freaky. As I was about to curse the alarm manufacturer, hot water dripped on me.

Glassbreaks will alarm and make audible noise when you run water through them, turns out. The leak is in the dishwasher discharge on the floor above. Water and breaker are off to the dishwasher, and Monday will be calls to the trades.

Yes, by the way, this is the same ceiling the dishwasher dropped during the kitchen remodel several months ago. I have high hopes it’ll stay together and dry out well, though the dishwasher needs a different kind of union to the discharge piping.

I’m going to have the flashlight examined, too.

Happy Birthday honey!

Somehow I won the marriage lottery, and got the best mate I could have. I cannot be more serious: nobody else on earth understands me better, and still accepts me. Win.

As I said, win.

Happy Birthday, Honey!

Congrats Youngest Daughter

Our youngest graduated from Chapman University in Orange, California a couple of weeks ago.

Aged 20. With Honors.

Yes, a Disney Graduation hat. Not worn at the actual graduation.

We are very proud of her, as you might imagine. And she’s in California, so employment awaits. And awaits.

This does not in any way detract from our manifest pride in her accomplishment (and my thanks for graduating a year early…).

She’s bright with a similar future. Here’s to Her!

So long, pencil sharpener

I bought some school supplies when I started med school 22 years ago (has it been that long?). Index cards (used a lot of them), pencils (ditto), and a $12 pencil sharpener. Which wouldn’t sharpen a pencil worth a darn. Kept it anyway.

It mangled pencils for all the kids homework, and as we’ve all gotten more digital (and have outgrown homework, mostly) we don’t use pencils much any more.

In a recent cleanout of a desk we’re going to do without, it was re-discovered and brought to the office. Where it sang its farewell song, a perfectly sharpened pencil the first time, then it died in my hands.

I suppose it’ll get replaced someday, though for now we will respect its contributions by marking its absence. Farewell.


Turnaround – Think Fast Engineering | Think Fast Engineering

My brother, the Aerospace Genius, has gotten back into racing. Which he does better than me. he also blogs better, which is highly annoying.

Teamwork at the race track is a stunningly beautiful thing to behold, especially when the stakes are huge. I am forever indebted to Jay Messenger, John Fabijanic, and Dave Frietas for giving me far more help than I ever imagined I would need, and for saving me in the process. Without those golden sacrifices, my road racing adventure would have come to a bitter end instead of propelling a meteoric advance. While zigzagging toward the green flag, I told myself “I’m doing this for them, not for me.”

How does this grab you for ambition: Going straight from driver school to professional open wheel racing, with only two test days in between?

via Turnaround – Think Fast Engineering | Think Fast Engineering.

An interesting, and challenging weekend was had, with a happy outcome. Enjoy the Tale, and the Telling.

Not dead yet


Sitemeter tells me people still visit this site. Probably from a sense of nostalgia, and I thank all of you for checking in here from time to time.

I’m working a lot of shifts, going to a lot of meetings, and still trying to have a semblance of a life. This leaves no time for original writing here.

The meetings: our Gigantic Corporate Overlord has graciously agreed to part with a Princely Sum of Cash, and in March we break ground on a new ED. Nice! (Figures off the top of my head: currently we have about 96 beds in 24K sq. feet and see 96K/yr, and we’re going to 81 rooms and 48K sq. ft.).

In case you missed that, we’re not scheduled to get the same number of beds as rooms, but a bunch of our current beds are hall beds. I hate hall beds. And, many of the new rooms are to be designed to ‘double up’ so we can put 2 beds in 1 treatment room, so we’re going to net more than we have now.

Additionally, 2 CT’s, an MRI, and 24 hour sono. And a designed environment rather than the hodgepodge of assumed spaces we currently have. (When I describe our current condition it sounds like I’m down on it, but I’m not. It’s functional. And our staff is terrific. Fortunately they’re going to make the move too)!

Bizarrely, I am one of three docs to work with the team that engages the architects, and it’s a fun if time consuming process. It’s fun to play ‘what if’ with these differently trained pros, and I feel like the time I’m spending there is worthwhile. I get to help design the ED I hope to retire in, and not many get to say that.

And did I mention we’re remodeling the kitchen in the homestead? No? We (had) a mostly original 1986 kitchen that was awesome 10 years ago when we moved in, but now is worn and dated. Well, was. Now it’s torn out to the walls. Our former bulkheads (fir-downs in Texas) were pulled out so we can go all the way to the ceiling, but they contained a lot of wires and plumbing (which are being moved).  It’s very expensive entertainment watching the trades do their thing, and a tiny part of me wants to be one of them. Yes, my brain, thanks…

Speaking of the trades, the electricians liked our garden trolls, and decided they needed to be fed. Heh.

More to come.


My neighbors can be fun

So, I started with this (actually happened):

I (well my friend) accidentally pulled his truck and laden trailer over your yard last night.

I very sincerely apologize for this. I will gladly repair any sprinkler system damage, or other damage to the lawn.

I do not anticipate this ever happening again. Both my wife I value your friendship and your being better neighbors than I am.

Apologies. Please let me know what needs repair.

I got this back:
[Read more…]

Ever want something, then realize you didn’t want it?

I have a few things I really like. Vacation trips to SoCal (nearly always to Disneyland), silly and trivial but fun events there, and a nearly Holy Grail trip to In-N-Out Burger are some of my favorites. I’m easy to please, really. Attainable fun and gastronomic happiness in one trip. Bliss.

(I’m not an expert on pleasure. I’m the weirdest extrovert you’ll meet, in that I will include everyone very happily in my public life, and by that I mean I have a blog, I tell people about all the superficial things in my life (I just had my pond filled in, and I have bored everyone at work with that), I’ve blogged a lot of things people know about, and I keep my private life and friends private. You might be surprised that things happen I don’t blog. You might not. It depends on what you know of me.)

Therefore, things I like I tend to Really Like. This explains why I go to the same places for fun. I’m sure there’s a psychological problem/answer there.

As if by magic, one of the forbidden SoCal-only objects has been deposited in my world: In-N-Out has come to Mohammed. (I’m not Mohammed, it’s a metaphor, no bombings please). My anticipation, thrill really, was shared by the family. To say we’ve followed the construction and timeline of this Parthenon of Patties would be an understatement. Never in the history of our collective, extended family has one fast food joint focused our attention so meatily.

I had the Forbidden Burger tonight! And, it was a burger. Away from its normal surroundings, the pseudo-exotic locale, it was a decent burger, average fries, and a good milkshake. (My choice is not for the calorie conscious).

I felt like I finally had a date with the Prom Queen and found out she’s a shallow, dumb person who also isn’t into me. (I’m not personalizing this intentionally, except it’s personal). I could taste the disappointment. Pun intended.

My title isn’t quite right. I wanted it, I got it, and the failure was mine. It was a good burger, perfectly adequate, served with a smile, and as close in taste as a 1,500 mile breach can be. It’s that it wasn’t eaten There, in The Place. And therefore it wasn’t right. Dang it.

Now I’ve diminished something I liked, a lot, and have learned the big lesson. Don’t screw up the things you like, and where you like things is a huge component as to why they’re liked.

I’ve lost something I’ve loved, and now at best I can like it again, in its rightful place, someday. Context matters.

That would have been a better title. I just had to work through it.

Unsolicited praise for BXpanded.com

About a month ago I bought a micro-tractor to have around the micro homestead, which is a lot of fun. (It’s a Kubota BX25, which I’d link to but their site is apparently Flash based, and therefore stinks and is unlinkable).

So, a little tiny tractor with a tiny loader and backhoe. It’s stupidly fun. I had no idea digging things with a backhoe would be so satisfying. I’m not going to give up the day job to do it, but it’s really a barrel of monkeys.

Apparently part of having a tractor is the parts/accessorizing (yes, I concur that accessorizing is probably the wrong word for a macho tractor, but I’m new to this, remember)? So, I have bought bucket hooks and a light kit for it, from BXpanded, and they’re the object of this praise.

I tried the bucket hooks a week or so ago, and they didn’t fit as smoothly as the YouTube video made it look, so I sent them an email, and I got a response within an hour. On a Saturday afternoon. With an apology for taking an hour, as he had been mowing his lawn. Also, his advice worked perfectly.

So, great, one incident, one good outcome.

Then today, another problem. Their light kit looks terrific and went on well, but I couldn’t find the work light wires on the tractor. They’re on the wiring diagram, but I couldn’t find the wires. I called the dealer that sold it to me, and their service department gave me the wrong answer (‘it’s the power outlet’), so they proved their worth. Inexplicably I sent an email to the BXpanded folks, and then bothered to look on the innernut.

Yes the answer was there, and I hooked their nice kit up, and of course it worked. And as I parked the tractor there was a voice mail on my phone. (My sig line on emails from the phone has my cellphone number in it). It was the BXpanded fellow, who wanted to help me find the wires.

Yeah, the BXpanded guy called me to help, though I only sent an email asking for a general hint. It doesn’t get any better than that. And, the lights helped me a bunch tonight while using the backhoe.

So, BXpanded.com, recommended highly.

There is a minor downside to having a micro-tractor: My wife has taken to calling me Mr. Douglas. Yeah.

My wife objects to the venting of our whole-home dehumidifier into the laundry room

I can’t imagine why:

Yeah, Africa Hot. But worse, except not in Africa. So, better! What’s the problem?

Many congrats to Bob

Bob’s my son, and today most of the family got to witness his swearing into the Texas Bar by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court (along with about 400 new colleagues). It was a good, brief ceremony, and as we didn’t get to see him graduate from Law School this was our Graduation event for him.

Afterward we had a nice lunch, and I beat the odds by driving home without my mother in law giving me driving tips.

Life is good!