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Darling Daughter made it safely to Japan and is busy getting settled in. She has a new bank account, phone, and (gulp) lives very close to a shopping mall. We're Skyping every few days to stay in touch..

...and yeah, I miss her.
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Haven't seen Broadchurch on BBC America?

You should.


P.S. Just don't read the wiki entry before you start watching...
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My own theory on the whole "John Hurt as the Doctor" bit?

Clara missed one in "The Name of the Doctor" and that's what they have to fix.
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So apparently we have a new Doctor. I was a bit surprised by the choice, as they had been trending younger, but I really like Peter Capaldi. He was fantastic in "Torchwood: Children of Earth", and you have to appreciate someone who can make your own cussing sound akin to "Ave Maria" in comparision.

If I had one wish, it would be that he brings a bit of Pertwee and Colin Baker to the role. I've had enough of the Troughton-esque; I'd like to see a Doctor who is supremely confident in himself and his ability to resolve any situation--and who can back it up every single time.

I told the Redhead this, and added--"You know, kind of like Nathan Stark on Eureka." And she got this lustful, dreamy-eyed look in her eyes...

Never work. Quinn's head would constantly hit the TARDIS doorframe.

I found out about the choice via Twitter, and cluttered amid the announcement was a great deal of sturm und angst about a) why didn't they pick a woman b) ZOMG Moffatt iz wurst producer EVAR, etc. etc. etc. I had to remind myself that this crap did go on back in my early fandom days, but it was more or less restricted to fanzines and newsletters and therefore easier to ignore.

It's gone on since the beginning: producer/Doctor is ZOMG Worst Evar And Must Leave Now, eventually new producer/Doctor is hired, ZOMG Why Didn't They Pick The Person I Thought Would Be Perfect, ZOMG Worst Evar, especially compared to Saint Previous Director/Doctor, and so on.

I really do think the job of DW Executive Producer requires steel-thick skin and kevlar undies...

ADDED: Bleeding Cool says it perfectly.

I dood it!

Jul. 30th, 2013 08:06 am
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I'm just over halfway on the C25K (couch-to-5K) program. It's an incremental process, extending the amount of time you jog/run and reducing the time you walk. I've redone a few steps here and there, because some of the increments took a bit of time to acclimate to.

Well, week 5 day 3 was a doozy--five minute walk warmup, 20 minute jog (no breaks). I was approaching this with a bit of trepidation, because eight minutes had been my max. I was pretty much set on doing day 2 again (8-5-8) and work my way up to it. But this little voice in my head (not to be confused with Red or Daughter, who serve the same function when I'm home) kept saying, "How do you know you can't do 20 minutes? Have you tried? What would it hurt to try and see what happens?"

This is of course the voice that said there was no reason I couldn't run a 5K. This is the voice that is trying to kill me by any means possible. I don't know why I listen to it.

So this morning I set out...and behold, I went 20 minutes non-stop. And honestly, I wasn't nearly as wiped as I thought I'd be. Of course, one does not do the Rocky Victory Dance in public at 7 a.m., but I was pretty hyped.

That's close to two miles. A 5K is just over three. I'm getting there.
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Wow. We made it with ****thirty**** minutes to spare this time!
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In the midst of the aforementioned road trip, on Sunday afternoon my phone reminded me that I had a hearing test scheduled for Monday. Given how wiped I was, you can guess how enthused I was about that, but to be honest, I've been having some problems of late, and my assumption was that Harold the Tiny Tumor had grown a bit and was making things deteriorate even more.

Interestingly enough, the tests belied that notion. The Doctor said I was still at 93% in the right ear, and I wasn't having any balance issues. When I told him that I'd like to have the hearing aid adjusted, though, because I felt like I was still having trouble, he nodded and they ushered me into the technician's office.

She told me to wait a few minutes, then quickly disassembled the hearing aid and gave that thing a thorough cleaning up. It'd been some time since this had been done, and when she handed it back...holy cow. Everything was back to loud and clear. I hadn't realized what the problem was.

So now I'm scheduled every six months to come in and get the thing cleaned up. And at the moment, I'm trying not to wince because man, everything is so LOUD...
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The plan was simple. We'd get up early, have a nice breakfast at Uncle Bill's Pancake House (a St. Louis Institution), and drive up to Chicago on I-55 (which is right up there in the top 5 Most Boring Highways). It's about a 5-hour drive, so assuming we left around 7:30 or so, we'd get there about 12:30-1:00. The Japanese Consulate accepts visa applications between 1-4 weekdays, so that would give us PLENTY of time to turn Daughter's in, and then the ladies could shop their hearts out.

Great plan. You can guess what's coming.

There were three factors that I didn't a) know about b) think about c) couldn't do anything about.

First--and I knew this--the Cardinals were playing the Cubs that weekend at Wrigley. I'd forgotten about the Great Red Migration that takes place when this happens.

Second, they're doing some major road construction just outside Joliet. We hit it at 11:30. We got through it around 1:00-1:30. Still, PLENTY of time, right?

Third, this was the weekend for Taste of Chicago. Downtown. We CRAWLED down I-55 to Lake Shore Drive, and that was practically a parking lot. When we tried to turn into the Loop proper, it was even MORE congested.

I am still not sure how we managed to do it, but Daughter got her paperwork turned in...at 3:59 p.m.

And best of all...we get to do it AGAIN this week to pick the visa up. Now mind you, of the three factors listed above, only the construction is going to still come into play (so far as we know), but I'm looking forward to this like a root canal.

But I'm a dad. It's my job.
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So at long last some critical paperwork for Daughter's Study Abroad has arrived. Our next step is to race up to Chicago in order to take said papers to the Japanese Consulate, who will process this information so that Daughter has a student visa (and can therefore stay more than three months). And guess what? Next week we have to return so that we can pick the visa up. I don't really want to trust this stuff to delivery services, so it's road trip time.

I just realized this morning that the Cardinals are playing the Cubs at Wrigley this weekend. Sadly, I don't think the ladies are willing to take a trip to the ivy-covered wreck; neither of them are baseball fans, and they have shopping and museums in mind. It's a pity, though. Given the proposed massive renovations the Cubs are planning, it's probably my last chance to pee in a rusty metal trough amid dozens of my closest friends.

(That might have been said with just a wee bit of sarcasm...)
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So...I'm a bit reluctant to post this, but I've been told by several sources (foremost being The Redhead) that I should, partly because it's a good thing, but more importantly it creates ACCOUNTABILITY. In other words, don't quit because you'll look reallllly bad to the people who you bragged to.

See, most men, when they have a mid-life crisis, go for fast cars, sweet young things, country boots and western music. Nope, not me. I have to be different.

I want to run a 5K.

This is something that's been percolating for a while. There's a guy in Kansas City who runs a sports blog (focusing on KC's pro sports, poor guy). But he's also a marathon runner, and he posts about his major runs. For example, this year he ran the Boston Marathon. You can imagine what that was like. So the more I read, the more I started thinking.

I do work out most weekdays, but I was hitting a plateau. I needed something to shake my body out of its monotony. That figured into it too.

But I think the clincher was an article on the Disney Parks blog about a woman and her friends who ran their first 5K to great acclaim. And I looked at that picture and thought, "Hell, if she could do it, I probably could too."

I figured the Redhead would roll her eyes and point out the sheer stupidity of the idea. I keep forgetting she's a nurse. She was very enthusiastic and talked to her running co-workers at her place of work for suggestions. And when I mentioned off-handedly that I'd done 3 miles on the elliptical "just to see if I could", she told them and let me know that so far as they were concerned, I could do it (and more importantly, I'd better do it).

Best of all, they suggested a program called C25K, which translates into "Couch to 5K". Here's the link. It starts you off very slowly--run/jog 60 seconds, walk 60 seconds, repeat--and by the end of the program (9 weeks) you should be ready to roll. Thing is, and they emphasize this--it's a process, not a boot camp. If you don't feel ready to progress to the next step, don't. Build up to it. The idea is to run 3 days a week, with the days in between giving your body time to heal.

Well, of COURSE I didn't follow things completely at first. I was out doing stuff almost every day. But I quickly learned that wasn't a good idea. So I go out three days a week and do the program, which generally runs around 30 minutes. It's hard work at times; I have to constantly remind myself to slow my pace because I'll be too winded to finish otherwise. And let's be honest, I'm not so much running as jogging. But I'm about to start week 3 and hopefully I'll be ready to run a 5K by this fall.

I'm not really losing much weight, but my waist size has been shrinking. And I'm feeling healthier overall. The Redhead sprung for some beginners running shoes that, while the color scheme is blinding, are very comfortable and extremely light. Makes a world of difference.

I've got a long way to go, but I'm getting a lot of support from people. It's not a case of "if" but "when". I'm probably never going to run marathons (note that word, 'probably'), but I can do this. And I will.

And for what it's worth, I've already looked up the 5K routes at WDW. Never hurts to plan ahead. :)
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So the Redhead basically said it's your day, what do you want to do? And I replied, I want to GRILL. See, she bought me this beautiful grill a few years ago, and because of the weather, the Omaha thing, and this and that I never seem to get any time to use it. Mind you, the sky looked a bit iffy at the time of this conversation, but I crossed my fingers and we went to the store for stuff. We bought brats, pork steaks and salad, and by the time we got home Mister Big Yellow Shiny Thing had burned the clouds away and we were good to go.

So I've got the cover off the grill and I'm cleaning things up a bit when the Redhead says, "Before you get started, hose down the back porch." I don't understand what the hell this has to do with GRILLING, but she insists that it needs doing and okay, it is a bit messy so I roll out a length of hose, attach the ancient and dying spray nozzle and turn on the water.


Okay, so maybe the shutoff valve was turned during Mosby's renovations. Certainly possible though I'm not sure why they'd do that, but I get under the sink and turn things this way and that. Still no water coming through. And then I notice that while the outdoor faucet valve is turning, there's not really any resistence to speak of. Aha. I retrieve a screwdriver, work things loose and re-attach them firmly. This time we get water, so the back porch gets cleaned up and we can resume GRILLING.

(Which was fantastic, by the way)

(Note: the Redhead notes that I did not mention that she was the one who figured out where the cutoff valve was and took corrective action. My bad. Duly corrected.)

So cut to about an hour ago; I'm gathering up my gym bag for my workout when I get a text from The Redhead: "Did you know you accidentally shut off the water to the dishwasher yesterday? I fixed it."

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I'm on the laptop in St. Louis tonight and I did a bit too good a job cleaning the thing off, so there are no pictures, but I've been reminiscing a lot about my father today:

The man could not stand for anyone in the house to sleep in. Drove him NUTS. Imagine Red's face when, shortly after we were married, my father woke us up by cracking the door open, slipping his arm through and flashing the lights on and off several times.

He was VERY good about teaching lessons that you'd remember. I'd driven home one weekend to see the family, and for whatever reason I'd forgotten to call when I got home to let them know all was well. Dad called me at 4:30 a.m. "just to be sure I was okay".

The man LIVED for the perfect parking spot. Even today, whenever we end up in a primo spot, we all give thanks to Dad for holding it for us.

He had his moments. There was the time in Kansas City when an ice storm had hit overnight. He went out very early in his t-shirt and underwear to get the paper...only to slip and fall flat on his butt. Better still, one of the neighbors across the street saw the whole thing...and made sure to tell us, because HE sure as hell wasn't going to.

There was another time that he'd gotten home late from a trip and didn't know that Mom had rearranged the furniture in the downstairs family room. He was getting ready to go to work the next morning and went down there to put his shoes on, and of course he didn't bother to turn on the lights. We lost a good end table that morning.

He drove with me to my two job interviews and offered sage advice along the way. When he and Mom came to pick me up for Christmas break, it was cold and a bit slick...and he tossed me the keys and said "Let's go." This did not endear him to my terrified mother...which was probably the point. :)

He thought Darling Daughter was the be-all and end-all of the universe. Which of course she is, but you know...and oops, here's a picture!

He took me to my first Royals game, back in old Municipal Stadium. We went to games at Busch II, Comiskey Park on the South Side of Chicago, and football games at Soldiers Field in Chicago and whatever the hell the Colts called their first place in Indy. I enjoyed those times, and I think he did too.

Most of all, there were the times he'd get me up early on a Saturday morning and take me to his St. Louis branch store to sweep, wash windows, and the like. But before we went there, we'd stop at an IHOP that sat at the corner of Brentwood and Clayton and have breakfast. Just him and me.

So Red asked me today if there was anything special I wanted to do. I said yes there was. So tomorrow we're going to get up early and have breakfast at the IHOP at the corner of Brentwood and Clayton. I think he'd like that.

Added later because I always think of him when I hear this song:

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Y'know, I keep waiting for her to come to her senses and realize what a huge mistake she made back then...I don't think it's going to happen.

Lucky me. :)
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Our remodeler has our house featured on their main page. Here's the direct link to the project:

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So I got a call from Disney Vacation Club this morning. The guy on the line informed me that our liaison is changing; our original rep passed away suddenly a month or so ago. He says that the new rep will be calling me shortly.

I text Red with the news; she is concerned because she'd given my sister-in-law the old rep's card in case they wanted to join DVC as well. I said I doubted it was a big deal, because 1) the call would probably just be routed to a central processing number, 2) it's not like s-i-l would call today, and 3) I doubted that my brother was going to go for the whole idea anyway.

I get a call an hour later from the new rep, and we're discussing things when I abruptly get a text from my s-i-l. She'd just called DVC and found out old rep was no longer there. I start laughing and have to explain why to the new rep...and SHE starts laughing. Guess who'd just spoken to s-i-l about DVC?

Strange world.
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As mentioned before, we took Darling Daughter to Ruth's Chris last Saturday, and it was everything you could ask. The only thing that really killed me was having to decide between their ahi tuna and carpaccio appetizers (we went with the latter per Daughter's request). There was also the moment when the waiter asked if any of us wanted wine, and I glanced at The Redhead...and then suddenly remembered that, oh that's right, Daughter now qualified.

Still not sure how to handle that one.

Daughter is currently playing Bioshock Infinite, and I've been watching the occasional round while she kicks ass here and there. The graphics are impressive, but the storyline... I asked her what the plot was, and after a moment she said, "Wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey." Later I checked the Wiki entry and I'd have to agree with her. We've also been doing the occasional "Booker, catch" text routines. Because we can.

Also, Daughter got word that she got a very nice scholarship for Study Abroad. It was very welcome as it reduces the amount we have to kick in. I told her not to worry: "We'll get you there. Might not be able to get you back, but we'll get you there." For some reason she didn't see this as a downside...
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It's hard to believe that 21 years ago today the Redhead and I spent all day at St. Mary's waiting for Darling Daughter to make her world debut. Red had the benefit of Good Drugs; I did a lot of pacing and worrying. Funny how that last bit never ends. :)

As was promised long ago, we're taking Darling Daughter to a very nice dinner Saturday evening at Ruth's Chris (like she'd let us forget). In addition to that, I thought I'd buy her a little present. She's big into Disney pins these days and there were several I knew she had her eye on, so I found one at a reasonable price on eBay (let me tell you, that can be difficult with pins)and snapped it up. One thing to keep in mind--the seller had four of these pins. Keep in mind too that I said nothing to Daughter about this. I wanted it to be a surprise.

Ho ho ho.

Last night she called about something, then added "By the way, I know what you bought me for my birthday because that guy had four for sale and now there's only three and I checked." I couldn't reply immediately; I was laughing too hard.

Darling Daughter has her mother's brains and her father's warped sense of humor. I always said I never worried about her following the crowd; my fear was that she'd be LEADING it.

Here she comes. You've been warned. :)
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When I'm home, there's an early-morning ritual that Misato and Saki insist upon. About 6:30 a.m., Misato creeps up to the pillow and starts nudging my hand, meowing in my face, etc. until I wake up and raise the nearby window blind to a point where she (and DoofusCat) can watch the squirrels and birds running about outside. This Must Be Done. No Exceptions.

So over the past few months we've discussed buying a bird feeder that we could hang off the new front porch. We figured the birdies would enjoy the treat and this would be the perfect Daytime Kitty TV for the cats. In February we went over to Wild Birds Unlimited store and asked what they might recommend. After some discussion, they suggested we get a variation on this one, which has the advantage of closing off the food ports when something heavy (like a squirrel) tries to chow down.

We weren't sure just how big a feeder to get, so we opted to start small (with a large bag of food, certainly more than we'd need--remember that). Due to the weather and such, I wasn't able to actually install it until last weekend. Much to our delight, a few little birds came and dined. Saki immediately noticed the new toy; it took Misato a little longer to realize that there was a show going on. Rakka, who will not willingly leave her perch on the sofa for anything, snorted and went back to her nap.

Well, since then...word got around. Darling Daughter has complained incessantly about how many times she's had to refill the thing. And the squirrels have taken note--they've been prowling around the porch, trying to figure out how to get to the goodies. The cats are going nuts. Misato chitters and mews vague threats--if only we'd open the door!--and Saki stretches out his neck and WATCHES.

It's proven to be more wildly popular than we'd imagined. I'm tempted to call it "In-And-Out" after the burger chain out west that people rave about. And now I'm wondering...maybe we should have bought a larger one?
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A very happy birthday to my wonderful wife and best friend, The Redhead!
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My cousin's wife passed away this past week, so we were out of town to attend the funeral and wake. During the latter, The Redhead insisted on me taking off my glasses and holding up a can of soda...

...I guess it beats being confused with George Lucas, huh?
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