Thar she blows....

This is a story of how when life really sucks, it blows.

On or about 10 DEC 2005, my wife used our downstairs bathroom. When she hit the flush lever, the toilet bowl filled with water and failed to flush, followed quickly by a stream of water shooting out of the base of the toilet. I shut off the water supply and once the toilet bowl drained out onto the bathroom floor, the water stopped leaking. I mopped everything up, called the landlord to complain and closed the bathroom door. I would have put up the yellow crime scene tape, but I didn't have any on hand.

But wait there's more...

As you may have noticed, we just moved into this house and are still getting settled. There were no prior tenants, so we are discovering all of the new house problems. So, Monday, 12 DEC 2005 rolls around and we are busy hooking up the washer and dryer. Beyond a quick leak test on the washer, I did not do a test run. Monday night, I was upstairs messing with the computer setup, while my wife is running our first load of laundary. My wife screams something about water on the floor. I head back downstairs and find the carpet is soaked on the first floor and water is apparently coming out from under the bathroom door. I open the door and find brown water and raw sewage covering our bathroom floor, with evidence in the toiled bowl indicating it blew chunks all over the floor. An ironic twist. Laundary service is shut down and I start laying down cardboard to cover the wet carpet, since we have cats and a baby likely to crawl through the area.

It takes a few days, but final analysis is that the outside sewer line had become partially blocked. The upstairs shower and toilets probably had enough head pressure to push past the blockage, but the first floor toilet and washer did not, leading to our little weekend shit explosion.

Now I am sure you are thinking, how could things get worse for our intrepid heros? Wait for the next post. It may be a little while, because the wounds are still a little raw.


I hate Allied Van Lines

This is the most frustrating household move I have ever made.

I arranged to have Allied Van Lines move my household goods to Texas. No problems.
The transportation costs were around $6400 but we move an entire house and the estimate was $6200. No problems.
Our goods were picked up on 19 November and did not make it to Fort Worth until 28 November (still within the 6-11 day window). No problems.
The driver did not call and tell us he had arrived. Instead, the goods went straight to storage at Allied's local warehouse. Problems begin.
The local warehouse did not call and tell us our furniture had been delivered. Additional charges are now accumulating unbeknownst to us. Problems are increasing in scope.
The still happy couple finish negotiating a lease on Wednesday, 30 November, taking their time, since they did not know their goods were in town. The couple calls the driver, who admits that he dropped the goods off at Allied on Monday. The couple calls Allied and are informed that no crews or trucks will be available until 06 December and that storage fees will be charged (no amount stated) for the entire time. Awareness of problems begins.
The not so happy couple contact the Hartford office on Friday to see what can be done about these storage charges, since they were ready to receive delivery. Hartford says too bad, so sad, you should have called us first. Couple is frustrated, but is only expecting to pay a few hundred dollars extra.
The soon to be extremely unhappy couple begin receiving phone calls on 05 November, reminding them of the 06 November delivery and informing them that $2400 in additional charges and fees must be paid or the goods would not be delivered. Many bad words were thought and stated out loud. Many many many bad words. The Hartford office was called but they were not responding to voicemail. Wife had a meltdown. Being concerned for the continued health of pregnant wife, husband folds and pays outrageous fees to Allied but vows to get lawyer. Hartford office now calling and apologizing but explain that the $2500 was actually discounted from $4000 in additional unestimated fees. Husband now vows to destroy Allied Van Lines by any and all legal means available.

WANTED: Hungry, ambitious member of the Texas state bar seeking to make a name and pile of money from a big company.


Driving Across America

Day 1:
Drove from Windsor, CT to Hagersburg, MD
-released cats from cages, no collisions or rollovers resulted
-cats don't like cars but they seem to tolerate it
-babies do not like car seats
-babies set the travel schedule, daddies do not
-the Clarion Hotel in Hagersburg sucks
-the Clarion seemed to be hosting some sort of large contingent of Muslims (less than 100 miles from DC)

Day 2:
Drove from Hagersburg, MD to Knoxville, TN
-saw some really large satellite dishes in Northern, VA but could not tell which government agency owned the site
-Virginia countryside is nice-lots of mountains and such

Day 3:
Drove from Knoxville, TN to Little Rock, AR
-ate lunch in Nashville, TN
-ate dinner in Memphis, TN, did not meet Elvis
-slept in Little Rock, AR (resisted urge to leave stained blue dress at Clinton Library)

Day 4:
Drove from Little Rock, AR to Fort Worth, TX
-not much to see on the road between Little Rock and Dallas
-got french fries in Hope, AR, the birthplace of Bill Clinton
-saw Dallas, TX from the road, but did not stop


Moving Day

The adventure begins....

Well, everything has been removed from our house and loaded onto a big semi tractor trailer. That was quite an adventure. The only stuff left is garbage, which I really do not have the time or energy to deal with. Hopefully, we can get the realtor to get a cleaning crew.

I am still not convinced we will be able to make this transit without a trailer, but the wife vetoed my idea. We will see.

One of the cats started crapping blood today. After a trip to the Vet ER and $171, I now have the pleasure of attemtping to medicate a cat for the next 8 days, almost half of it on the road. One interesting piece of information, 1/4 of a dramamine tablet 3 times a day makes a good cat tranquilizer (I got this from the vet, not from random experiments). Of course, getting the pill into the cat may take all of your energy for the day.

The baby seems to be taking things okay.

I must go pass out now....


Still not dead....

But I am busier than a one legged man in an ass kicking contest.

In case you didn't hear, the family is about to relocate to Fort Worth. Why? I once saw a book titled Hell's Half Acre about Fort Worth's red light district. It seemed like a good idea at the time....

So what has been happening since I visited Texas? Well you asked... (okay, I asked for you).

We have had some remodeling done on the house.
We have managed to put the house on the market.
We have picked a moving company.
We have purchased a ridiculously large and expensive vehicle for our road trip (2005 Chevy Tahoe).
The countdown clock has started and we hit the road in just 5 days.

Ever see the end of the Road Warrior? Our final dash for Texas ought to look the same....


I didn't die and go to heaven....

I went to Texas instead. I am driving around in the most granpa of automobiles, a big, white Cadillac Sedan. For some reason, some words from Dennis Leary's Asshole Song (from No Cure for Cancer) keep running through my head.

"I'm gonna get myself a 1967 Cadillac El Dorado Convertible, hot pink, with whaleskin hubcaps and all-leather cow interior and big brown baby seal eyes for headlights... yeah! And I'm gonna drive around in that baby at 115 miles per hour, getting 1 mile per gallon, suckin' down quarter pound cheeseburgers from McDonald's in the old-fashioned non-biodegradable styrofoam containers and when I'm done suckin' down those greaseball burgers I'm gonna wipe my mouth right on the American Flag and then I'm gonna toss the styrofoam containers out the side, and there ain't a goddamn thing anybody can do about it. You know why? Because we got the bombs, that's why Two words: Nuclear fuckin' weapons, OK? Russia, Germany, Romania, they can have all the democracy they want...they can have a big democracy cakewalk right through the middle of Tienamen Square and it won't make a lick of difference, because we got the bombs, OK? John Wayne's not dead, he's frozen! And as soon as we find a cure for cancer, we're gonna thaw out the Duke and he's gonna be pretty pissed off. You know why? Have you ever taken a cold shower? Well, multiply that by 15 million times, that's how pissed off the Duke's gonna be. I'm gonna get the Duke and John Casavetti and Lee Marvin and Sam Peckinpaw and a case of whisky and drive to Texas."

Flying Saucer Beer Count: 3

Off to earn some more beer points (or maybe off to drink some more beer pints).


From the mouths of lawyers

I found this quote on CNN:

"To endorse Google's library initiative is to say "it's OK to break into my house because you're going to clean my kitchen," said Sally Morris, chief executive of the U.K.-based Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers. "Just because you do something that's not harmful or (is) beneficial doesn't make it legal.""

So remember, the next time you are doing some harmless, beneficial thing, you may be braking the law.

Small wonder that lawyers seem to have inspired Shakespeare to write:

"Cade. Be brave, then; for your captain is brave, and vows reformation. There shall be in England seven halfpenny loaves sold for a penny; the three-hooped pot shall have ten hoops; and I will make it felony to drink small beer. All the realm shall be in common, and in Cheapside shall my palfrey go to grass. And, when I am king, -- as king I will be,--

All. God save your majesty!

Cade. I thank you, good people; -- there shall be no money; all shall eat and drink on my score; and I will apparel them all in one livery, that they may agree like brothers, and worship me their lord.

Butch. The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers.

Cade. Nay, that I mean to do. Is not this a lamentable thing, that of the skin of an innocent lamb should be made parchment? that parchment, being scribbled o'er, should undo a man? Some say the bee stings; but I say, 'tis the bee's wax, for I did but seal once to a thing, and I was never my own man since."

For an interesting discussion of what the Bard really meant, check out Harvard's Law Blog.

For some lawyer jokes, check out Lawyer Jokes and Cartoons


Bigfoot, P.I., John Roberts, and Wolverine

For some reason, everyone seems to be blogging about John Roberts. I don't know why, as most of the lawyers I know are not that interesting (exceptions being lawyers with engineering undergraduate degrees). I did not want to be left behind in the blog race, but I have nothing to say about him. Fortunately, my friend Metron has once again come to the rescue. As you may recall, he surfs the web so I don't have to. In any case, here is a link to someone else's blog about John Roberts and one of the most important supreme court issues of the day, Logan vs. Wayne.

Logan vs. Wayne Decision

Wow. That is unbelieveable. How can he not take a stance on such a critical manner? He sounded almost as if he was waffling-something only Democrats and Belgians should engage in. I can understand teh difficulty in making a choice (adamantium vs wonderful toys, attitude vs healing power). But they are obviously evenly matched in funky pointy head gear type costumes and they are both a little off-kilter. So you have to make a choice. Any attempt to weigh their respective advantages will lead one down into the slippery slope of universal acceptance, affirmative action and democracy. One has to go from the gut here, and while I really hate to back anything made in Canada, make mine Logan!

By the way, when I saw the title of the blog, for some reason my mind read it as Detective Yeti, and I kept picturing a large, hirsute being in a fedora and trenchcoat (with the mandatory Colt .45 M1911A1 in a shoulder rig). Some sort of sureal opening line keeps running through my head ("This is the Himalayas. It's 5am and someone is about to do something bad on Everest. My name is Yeti....).


Curious religious thoughts

Alright, calm down, I have not found religion. Except for ones based on supreme beings made from food. Speaking of which, the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster now has an online rival. It is called Spaghetti and Pulsar Activating Meatballs (SPAM) and apparently it's followers are gearing up for a holy war. I am fascinated that two individuals who invented parody religions are now about to go to war over their religions (if only virtually-hopefully only virtually).

For some reason this whole situation causes my mind to wonder a bit about all this intelligent design nonsense that has been circulating lately. Think about this general set of concepts:

1. Most backers of "intelligent design" are members of what might be called the American religious right.
2. Most members of the American religious right place heavy emphasis on the mores of the Old Testament, while saying the name Jesus to differentiate themselves from Jews and Muslims.
3. The "intelligent design" myth basically echoes the ideas of Genesis (a book essentially copied from the Jewish Torah), combined with some goofball bishop's calculation that the earth is only ~5000 years old (said calculation performed before the discovery/identification of fossils, carbon dating, theory of evolution/big bang).
4. Jesus (or more likely Joshua or Yeshua) was a Jew, as were all of his disciples and most of his original followers.

Based on this, I keep coming to one conclusion: CHRISTIANITY IS JEWISH CONSPIRACY.

How is that for mind blowing?

Spam spam spam spam spam spam spam spammity spam over the spam


Foamy the Squirrel Commentary on Hurricane Media Response

The link in the title says it all when it comes to news anchors, reporters, disasters, and looters. Not safe for work (so play it loud!!!!). Courtesy of my friend Metron who surfs the web so I don't have to.

Red Cross-dontate if you can



I ditched my family and went drinking with some crazy people last Saturday. Never go drinking with test engineers. All those years of breathing jet fuel fumes makes you crazy.

Stupid Pig Personality Test

Okay, so I took this stupid pig personality test at the suggestion of a coworker. I didn't want to spend a lot of time, since I was at work and could not figure out how I would justify this to my boss if he caught me. So I worked fast and drew a quick profile. Apparently, the amount of pig you draw is supposed to indicate something. Had I known this, I would definitely have drawn a long tail. Anyway, here it is:

[I wonder if I could now legimately claim to have butchered a hog? Check off another critical skill...]


What I can do out of the things a human should be able to do

Since I have a rather pompous quote directing people to know various things, I thought I should status my own accomplishments to date.

change a diaper-done (and will keep changing everyone that I cannot legitimately dodge)
plan an invasion-not done (hmmm-who should get invaded next? Which country has the best beer and the friendliest wenches?)
butcher a hog-not done (not really planning on trying it out either)
conn a ship-done-USS Fitzgerald in 2002-we did not run aground or collide with other ships, so I guess it was a success
design a building-not done (although there is something of a dream house forming in my subconscious)
write a sonnet-not done (wrote some pure doggerel in high school, but nothing of sonnet quality)
balance accounts-done (in more than one way)
build a wall-not done (knocked some holes in a few walls)
set a bone-not done (although I did break a bone)
comfort the dying-not done (not looking forward to this one)
take orders-done (too many damn times)
give orders-done (no one asked whether they were followed....)
act alone-done (get your minds out of the gutter)
solve equations-done (all the way through partial differential equations)
analyze a new problem-done (well it was new to me anyway)
pitch manure-done
program a computer-done (Apple II, Commodore 64, some FORTRAN, C/C++, various scripting languages)
cook a tasty meal-debatable (I liked it, but others have disputed that reheating frozen food is not cooking)
fight efficiently-partial (I have learned how to fight efficiently, but have not had to use it)
die gallantly-not done (plan on delaying this one till the very end-ha ha)

Rescue Line for Victims

-----Original Message-----
From: Eric Lamoureux, Governor's Office of Emergency Services
Sent: Wednesday, August 31, 2005 12:29 PM
Subject: Rescue Line for Victims

State OES has learned that trapped victims on the Gulf Coast are calling family, friends, loved-ones, or anyone they can get a call out to in California asking for someone to rescue them. These requests need to go immediately to the US Coast Guard's Rescue Line at 800-323-7233 and immediate assistance will be sent. Please distribute this information as widely as possible. Thank you.
-----Original Message-----
The USCG web site also has the following numbers listed.

2005.08.31-First ever blog posting

I have resisted as long as I could, but I have finally been assimilated. Spacer now has a blog. This is the first posting. It is my third wedding anniversary. Happy anniversary to my wife. Tempus fugit. Now what kind of leather goods would be appropriate for the mother of my first child? Something in black, to be sure. But what form? Luggage? Clothing? Naughty clothing? Studded or fringed? Decisions, decisions....

Personal news of the day: My son stood up in his crib under his own power. As a result, the crib was lowered so he can't take a header out of it until he figures out how to climb.

Funniest thing I saw today: Watched some idiot in New Orleans driving his car at high speed into a road full of water. He said he couldn't see the water. Saw this on CNN (you probably did too, as they seem to be replaying the same small amount of video over and over).

Serious thoughts:
-Never live below sea level.
-Always have a disaster kit (weapons, tools, food, water, booze, and cash)
-Never hesitate to abandon property in the face of imminent disaster (or in the words of Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Run Away!. )
-Buy a boat (unless you live on top of a mountain)