Monday, October 30, 2006

Hooray for toddlers!

That's me and my tiny niece, sitting on my motorcycle. She wasn't very keen on the whole thing at all until i made the horn go "BEEP!" After that she was pretty interested, but still wanted back in Momma's arms and away from the crazy chair. Her twin sister, ordinarily much more reserved and not usually the first one on a new trend, was ALL OVER the SHINY. They're a lot more fun now that I can do stuff like this with them and I know they're just going to get more so as they get older. They walk all the time now and are starting to do some talking. Soon, it'll be bicycles and BB guns... I got to hang out with them this weekend while my folks were there visiting. I cooked Papa James' "Deuces Wild Chili" in my sister's kitchen and we munched and giggled the afternoon away. Dad was taken with the bike, he even got to sit on it and mash all the buttons and stomp on the gearshift and everything. He was one happy redneck!

Eventually, we made it out to some of the Halloween parties we were supposed to be at. My costume was a disaster of internet ordering. I shopped for it in August, I ordered it the first week of September. They finally shipped part, but not all, of it late last week and that arrived today. Just in time for me to not wear ANY of it for the Halloween festivities this weekend. Stupid internet. Sometimes, I swear it's just broken. In the end, we didn't bother with costumes at all. We just went to hug our friends, freeload off their cookies and cokes and delightful (but gruesome ) confections, and drag our lame arses home at midnight. I'm a self declared, devoted, lifelong night-owl and I couldn't stay out past midnight to celebrate Halloween. Clearly, sleep is a drug to which I am addicted. Weaning shall commence immediately. Either that, or a stepped-up coffee regimen. You get to guess which one I'll choose.

The entire point of this post was just to show you how damnably cute my nieces are and I did that in the first five lines. So I'm off now. Hooray for toddlers!

Madness Apace

Well, I got over the strep and I got home from Denver, and I slept for a week straight. I've been doing double tutoring duty lately, and I'm proud of both of my students. That makes the late nights and shortage of blog time easier to swallow.

I had a trade show here in my hometown for a week, and now I've got a week of downtime to prepare for a class I'm taking in Ohio. Round on the outside, Hi in the middle... I've never been. I'd be lying if I said I was looking forward to going that far north in November, so I won't say it.

I don't even know where Ohio is. Hang on, lemme pop off to Google Earth for a second...

Oh, crap! Thanks for hanging around, by the way. It's on Lake Michigan. Have you ever watched Spongebob Squarepants? Do you know that there's a squirrel living in Bikini Bottom with Spongebob and Gary and Squidward and the crew? She wears a diving suit full of air and has a biodome with an oak tree in it for her house. When Spongebob visits her, he wears a diving suit full of water. I think I want one of those full of warm Texas air for my visit to Ohio.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

sans voce

So my voice is still gone, it's Thursday, and I'm still teaching. The good news is, the NyQuil and DayQuil are working. I still feel human, except for the last 30 minutes or so before it's time to re-dose. Still, I'm pretty sure that this is no meek virus that wanted to just pass through my throat. I'm fairly certain I've got a squatting bacteria that intends to stay in my sinuses, throat, and chest until forcefully evicted. So I'm going to a (thanks to my girlfriend for this phrase) Doc-In-The-Box tonight to see if I can't get some antibiotics. Hopefully, they'll make the pressure-change inherent in airline travel a little more tolerable tomorrow.

Bonus, my co-workers have stepped up and done some pinch-hitting for me in the lecture department. These classes are a mixture of Power Point presentations and hands-on workshops. I can cover the workshops plenty well with my wispy voice, but lecturing to a full room over the white noise of 20-some CPU fans is too much. So we set up a web conference and three different folks have stepped in to deliver a presentation here and another one there. It's getting me through, and I'm grateful to have that kind of support. Yea for good coworkers!

I was pretty pitiful when I had the flu last year and was alone in my apartment. I've decided it's marginally worse to be alone and sick in a hotel room. Do you know how hard it is to find a salt shaker in a hotel? I can't very well gargle warm salt water without salt, and I'm damn sure not going to McDonald's so I can raid their paper packet condiments for it. I'm drinking lots of hot tea and sucking on Hall's cough drops and trying to make the best of it until I can get home.

**Late-Breaking Update: I have Strep throat. I'm now on antibiotics and hope to return to normal soon.

Monday, October 09, 2006

when NyQuil is your friend...

... you probably need to get out and make more friends. As soon as the coughing, hacking, sore throat, not-sleeping business is over at any rate.

I'm trying to teach a class in Denver this week. I lost my voice in the first two hours. I'm staying on DayQuil and NyQuil to keep the less socially acceptable symptoms at bay, but even diner waitresses are "poor thing"ing me right now on the basis of the voice. Cross your fingers that this passes quickly. It's been a hexed experience ever since I tried to catch my flight last night, only to discover that the travel office had booked the flight for tonight. My class started at 8:30 this morning, so I was lucky enough to make standby on the first flight out this morning and get here relatively close to the appointed hour. The software I'm teaching wasn't installed on the computers in the room and the student manuals were still packed in shipping boxes when I arrived. I sacrificed a cheap pair of nail clippers to the Packing Tape Idols and managed to loose enough manuals to conduct the class. Still, teaching a software class without software is a feat beyond even my humble talents. Oh, yeah, and at the end of the day when I left the training facility in a 35 degree rain, my rental car wouldn't start. I must've turned the lights to Parking instead of all the way off when I got out of it this morning. Hell, maybe I just left the darn things on all day and never even attempted to shut 'em off. The car was beeping and blinking and alerting me throughout the drive from the airport. I only figured out what about half the alarms were for, I just tuned out the rest. I probably did the same thing with that "you left your lights on, you nitwit" alarm, too.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Now in Size EXTRA-Large

So I was in Austin this week teaching a class. It was super-fun to visit with my friends in the evenings instead of sitting in my hotel room staring at the walls. Ordinarily, I do a lot of reading and blogging when I go on these trips. In this case, however, the internet was broken (again) at a Hilton family hotel, and I was alone in my room with only my cell phone for company. I hate TV, so it was good that I had lots of people to keep me distracted from the problem of broken internet connectivity.

Anyway, after a fantastic, but exhausting week, I wound up at the Bonnie Raitt concert at The Backyard last night. I had a terribly bizarre experience there. A woman behind me asked me (very politely, and with good humor) if I would pull back my hair so that she could see the stage. As a friend said, it probably didnt help that Im like 8 feet tall. Still, for my hair to have achieved view-blocking status is quite the feat. I have now declared it officially Sized Extra-Large. Previously, I just told people I had Big Hair, so the upgrade is significant.

So me and my extra-large hair are going motorcycling this weekend in the Texas Hill Country. You'll be able to tell it's me because of all the hair hanging out from under the helmet. It just won't stay crammed in there, yo.