Powerless in the info age

We lost power today due to high windstorms in the area. I'm using my last remaining laptop juice and am connecting through a pokey analog connection. It's amazing how isolated I feel (and cold -- no heat...) I'm so wired 99% of the time that being cut off is a little disorienting. Kind of pathetic really.

It's also amazing how quiet it is in the house without all the motors, fans, and high frequency buzz in the house. I don't normally even hear it except when it's not there. It may not be bad for you, but I'm sure it's not good.

Hopefully, we'll get power back shortly. It's been 8.5 hours already. I'm going through withdrawal and will lose my methadone fix once my laptop battery dies. Can I survive until the morning when I get back into work? We'll see.

Chuck E. Cheese is hell on earth

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Since we didn't have power this evening, I took the kids to Chuck E. Cheese for dinner and some fun. I also owed this to Andrew since got to page 100 in his workbook at school.

Anyway, if you haven't been before (or haven't been since you were a kid), Chuck E. Cheese is a pizza joint with games and big kid-sized-habitrail setups. They also have a scary, syrupy stage show of animatronic animals in a band and a full sized Chuck E. Cheese guy in costume that will likely result in nightmares for me and the boys this evening. I seem to recall it being a more regular arcade when I was growing up, but now it caters to young children (like lower elementary).

As you walk in, you have to get your hand stamped in special ink so they can verify you're leaving with the right kids (like I'd want to take more kids than I came with?!) This is a nice idea in principle and makes people feel OK to let their four year olds run around unattended while the Stepford wives chat amongst themselves. However, since we managed to leave tonight without being checked and Michelle has seen unstamped adults leaving with kids, it's clearly not as robust a a scheme as you'd think. I never let Michael out of arm's reach and scan for Andrew every thirty seconds.

The games are a mix of arcade games for little kids and midway style machines that return tickets depending on how well you do. If you get a few thousand tickets at a quarter a pop, you can cash them in for great prizes like Matchbox car knockoffs and bad candy. A bargain at twice the price.

Half the games are broken. The floor is dirty from a million 4-5 year olds running around in their socks and bare feet, spilling soda. The whole place makes me want to take a Lysol shower afterwards. I just get the willies being there.

Worst of all, my kids love the place. Just love it. They can't wait to go back. So, we'll go back.

Yuck.

Comparative religion simplified

Like many people, I've struggled to understand the differences between religions. But now, I've found a simple guide based on "shit happens". Some winners:

     Catholicism: Shit happens because you are BAD.
     Judaism: Why does shit always happen to me?
                       - and -
     Jehovah's Witnesses: Knock, knock ... shit happens.

It makes everything perfectly clear.

Stupid lessons in leaf blowing

Well, I learned what would seem to be fairly obvious lesson this weekend. I got out my brand spanking new Toro leaf blower. Since it's been blowing pretty good here in Seattle lately, we had a lot of leaves and pine needles on the deck, front walk, and roof.

Well, I got that bad boy out and had a grand ole' time blowing the deck and front walk. It was getting dark, but I figured I had time to do the roof -- very important since the gutters were kind of full.

(This is where the audience screams "Don't do it!") So, I climb up on the roof with my trusty blower and do battle the with the roof. I'm loving this. 215 mph of leaf blowing might. The roof is cleared and the gutters look great.

Too bad the deck and walk look like hell.

Of course, Michelle is watching through the windows howling. She knows what a dumb ass I am. Everything is covered in an inch of pine needles.

So, in the dark, I re-clear the deck and walk. Oh well, lesson learned.

Still, it's pretty fun...