a thought

as we age we have the most to lose, the least to gain, the greatest wealth and the least strength.

mis

I tried to watch Les Mis. It hurt so bad.

I wanted to have a rewarding cultural experience. I read the book years ago and found it deep, one you want to reread some time but never got a chance. I reread Moby Dick in 2002 and it blew my mind.  How could 4o years on Broadway be wrong?

Scenery was cool, it felt rich and spectaculish, and for about 8 minutes i was into it, til Beckie said “what the hell are you watching, Disney Channel“?

True.

Maybe I shoulda know it was more opera than musical…i can barely stand musicals. The only one I ever liked was Rock of Ages, and that’s only cause i grew up in the 80′s and can’t fight my formative hairband years. Somehow i was singling along with the Les Mis soundtrack, and i’ve no idea where i’d heard all those songs i’d heard them a million times before. Still, the effects of the big screen can’t suspend the disbelief provided by the intimacy of the theater.

I bet I would really enjoy this on Broadway. I lost all focus when Maximus and Wolverine had a scene that went like this:

Wolverine: Easy come, easy go, will you let me go?
Maximus: Bismillah! No, we will not let you go, we will not let you go.
Wolverine: Let me go
MaximusWill not let you go.
Wolverine:  Never, never, never let me go. Oh, mama mia, mama mia let me go.

From there I flew through it at 6x speed, which showed depth of plot about as much as an episode of Jessie. The original was 3000 pages long.

But I am now resolved to put the Victor Hugo version on my kindle – abridged edition.

3 Truths and 2 Lies

A cheesey work kumbaya thing.

I thought about doing the drug-dealer-in-the-bathroom-with-the-drug-dog scene from Reservoir Dogs. A friend said i should just start singing Purple Rain and crying.

All that you project comes back in.  Especially in facebookiness-space, the space between meat-space and cyber-space, cordially awkward social encounters and interactions.  All that you project is a massage of a memory and a wish, and the nature you’re stuck with. How do you project yourself?

  • I have smuggled wild animals across the US-Mexican border
  • I built a backdoor into Ticketmaster’s ticketing system that would enable me to get access into any event.
  • I was saved from exhaustion in the San Juan Mountains by a van full of political extremists, and I asked them to let me out
  • I missed getting killed in the 1993 WTC bombing by 5 minutes
  • I got a tattoo of my daughters’ birthdays from a professional MMA fighter

 

I have smuggled wild animals across the US-Mexican border

TRUTH

I built a backdoor into Ticketmaster’s ticketing system that would enable me to get access into any event.

LIE. I did not build it. I designed it. It doesn’t exist.

I was saved from exhaustion in the San Juan Mountains by a van full of political extremists, and I asked them to let me out

TRUTH

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After 2-3 min of pleasantries and where ya froms, they dive into shooting all those wetbacks and Jan Brewer the Philosopher King. Miles I did not have to slog up in my bike shoes ticked off so slowly.

I missed getting killed in the 1993 WTC bombing by 5 minutes

LIE. Happened to one of my very best friends.

towers

I got a tattoo of my daughters’ birthdays from a professional MMA fighter

TRUTH

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Refresher

i have not written about kids’ awesome days in a while. They take so much work, i’m behind at work, and i don’t have time to write about kids’ awesome days.

Genevieve rocks soccer and doesn’t throw a fit, Alana rides hills! Everyone enjoys ice cream and the dog is furminated! #kids#monsters#fml

if only life was tweeted, time-management would be so much easier.

We were recently at the pool, me still so amped about work bullshit it’d be better i’m not there at all. I’m stressing about no signal, hurting their feelings, parading my resentment at their fun, ruining childhood. I’m on the trainer now, no surprise. I’m working, no surprise. Its not enough i facilitated from 4 to 11:27pm. If I don’t remember special moments, eventually they didn’t happen. all that is left is the sludge and detritus of the next under-scheduled flashflood, bowling balls falling from the sky. Finding myself in the crack between work stress and life stress, i remember the reason for the moment. If i can dig it out like a splinter in my fingernail, it sustains me through the next deluge. Its worth the time taken tenfold…

Genevieve’s first soccer practice with a league coach. $15 a session, but dayum those guys coach well. I never saw kids run so hard and so happily for 90 min. I took Alana to the playground where she climbed and explored with independence rarely seen. She demanded attention too. I scoped the practice from afar, getting a tingle to run with the tight pace while G streaked in and out of view.

I think my coaching pushed G’s buttons the wrong way. It wouldn’t be the first time i brought a woman to tantrums, where ‘sorry‘ is simply too late. But dayum those guys coach well. I have a talent for making the simple complex.

G dominated. Watching her 1-on-1 is like episodes of Spartacus. mebbe a slight eggsagerration, but its the same high as enjoying a righteous ass-whooping in bloody 3d.  Eventually other kids will catch her fitness and aggression.  Having the best kid on the field right now is bliss. The coach was asking all about her. It made me tickle.  She was engaged without noticing to run stronger than ever before, and she rose up. G’s lack of skill and balance were exposed immediately, but the practice was game-like enough she found her strengths enough to feel good about herself. G is all about positive reinforcement.

We talked about thirst, and hunger, and stopping to refresh in the AZ inferno. How feeling tired halfway through practice is normal, how tuning into yourself is essential, how getting the most out of yourself is reverential. How fitness and thin are not the same. Complex topics for a tinyAthlete, but simple enough.

We got home, ate, recharged. We got Kila out, and Alana pedaling. She is getting antsy watching from the back of the pack, opts out of her seatbelt in the Chariot, but is still shy of pack-paced adventures. A trip to the Eagle fired Alana up. G didn’t need gear or notice, she cooled down to lazy circles & pleasant conversation. She gave Alana someone to chase, out of joy and jealousy.  Alana charged 1 degree up, Alana shredded 1 degree down. She is hard to coach, but sometimes all that makes her high maintenance makes her so easy, the fixativeness fixating on the reason for the moment. Sometimes I think G got the best of me, and Alana the worst of me. I have a talent for making the simple complex.

A few boosts aside Alana rode up up up to the front door of Bashas where she understood positively reinforced ice cream. I do not remember G riding anything at that pitch at that age. G rode to the Pink Park, a long gradual descent, and a climb that understandably broke her, but no slope that grabbed her butt or lifted her stomach even for an instant. Alana stood up on the cranks of her 12 inch pink princess bike. I’ve never seen her do that. She completely controlled the roll down. She wrecked on the flats in front of our home, when she didn’t listen to my instructions. She said she understood her mistake. G explained to heed the tutelage of Chollaball. Alana said she understood her mistake. It took her 1 ride to finally understand braking, we’ll see how long to understand curbs.

3 hrs later I’m still spinning and working, and enjoying my comfy full belly from good coffee and Bagel Day. Software is fun, and addicting. And so is money. They are still addictions.

I found a horizontal move at work that would have saved me 10 hrs a week.  My dooshbag egomaniacal Indian manager torpedoed my move. I called HR, I may get  shot out the back of the company. Work can be better than aimless wandering and disingenuity, if i find the cracks between work stress and life stress.  The bureaucracy of workaholics and climbers and feigned smiles I can tolerate when my workload abides and there is Bagel Day. Software is fun, i show up in big games, i aint worried.  Check out the new turbo checkout on ebay when you Buy It Now.

I may move on. I may stay. I will make a point of not thinking about work when I’m not at work, which will make it seem like I am working less. There is noise between my paycheck and my kids, and i will find a way to detach it.

Disc Pics

First Forward,1- 2009:  This post is huge and has been brewing for a year.  I am only publishing it so it will appear live and taunt me into finishing.  the pics took a long enough time as it was.  When its done, I’ll move it to the head of the Q.

Second Forward, 4-2013: This post may be my cure for writers block, or nothing in the netflix queue. Or I could be sounding like a new years resolutioneer. 

Some posts spit almost unmodified from my brain to the blog.  Some start off with potential, then i realize its better to give up on them rather than polish a turd.  There is still that gem of an idea and it hurts to let it go, but if i learned anything from a couple years struggling to do stand-up, its way easier to generate many more good ideas and find ones that have legs rather than spin your cycles forcing one that doesn’t.  Then there are some posts that are just plain big, and take a long long LONG time to put together.  Consider yourself forewarned, I have a lot of discs.

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The first disc I bought was a white Wham-0 80E stamped with the Garden State Brickface design of Princeton’s Ultimate team. I think I paid $6 as a team member. It was a cool logo with the Thing from the Fantastic 4, a parody of an actual siding company that worked in the region. The disc cracked long ago due to the large stamp and soft plastic center of the Wham-Os, which very soon got phased out as the official Ultimate disc in favor of the far stabler Discraft Ultrastar. I did a web search for a picture, but only came up with an entry from UrbanDictionary.com: an ugly girl from New Jersey with a hot body but a hideous face.  Appropriate.

shirt pic

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Where to start?

Wilmington, NC was a frisbee factory of a small town, gobbling the best low-country athletes into their Fuck the World program. They were intimidating, fast, strong, and mean for many years, until I played on some teams with some of them. And played a year in Raleigh, NC. I had a terrible diet and a bad job waiting tables that made my feet and my depth sluggish, but i saw fitness and focus and improved so much in one year, everything would have been so different if i stayed there or moved anywhere but Tucson. In 1994 I picked up with a team of top-notch players to round out and off-season tournament roster. I got a lot of blocks, on the goalline. I got so much respect and validation i thought i could stop there and be satisfied.

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This was from the Callahan in 2003.

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Mebbe 1998 in Tucson. Pickup Sunday afternoons at Himmel Park were awesome, ride my bike with Tsaina, do doubles after driving up to Phoenix in the mornings for practices with the better Phx teams I played on.

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Washington, DC 1993 or 4. This was a club team that existed several years before i played there, but i liked their disc and a guy names Steve still sold them. He and I played on a really dysfunctional club team that practiced at the Anacostia Naval yards in the most fucked up corner of mainland America.

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My first of many New Year’s Fests, a massive earth-destroying political event annually in AZ ultimate. More teams and friendships were formed and destroyed by this annual winter tourney.  It used to attract half a dozen nationals-caliber teams and players looking for a winter escape.  Diablo Stadium getting sold to the California Angels pushed its slow decline to other winter events over the edge, but it was a good 20 years of popularity.

’97 went like this.

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1991? from some girls from Carnegie Mellon, cause I liked black discs and their legs.

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From one of several years of pretty-good Phx teams that usually made it to B pool finals or at least A quarters. This might also have been the year me and few guys picked up with (former)(perennial) winner of all-stars from Seattle. I completely caved in the moment, in awe of playing with National Champions. Among my most forgettable and memorable ultimate moments; at least it never happened again.

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College Nationals 1990! I was a project player on a very good team, played 10 points over 5 games and was a non-factor.  I had a lot of fun, and I realized some of my imperfections and some of the expectations for being a top player. Not enough, as most of the team’s leaders graduated. I’ve wondered how much difference another year coming up in a strong program would have made versus acquiring knowledge nomadically out in the big cruel world of club play.

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Visiting Princeton, the day before a tournament the year after graduation. It might have been Turkey Swamp, NJ – a local park I played 1-2 tournies a year from 1988 til I left the East Coast in 1996. With mostly non-rolling fields, flocks of turkey leaving black markles all over the fields, and the strictest no-alcohol laws ever.

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Princeton played Lehigh it seemed like 10x a year, 2 hrs away put us at most of the same tournaments. I’ve been to the campus maybe 4 times. Its in the hills outside Philadelphia, the fields were very green and very soft. Sometimes the fields 2nd-tier sports like Ulimtate were played on were not well-maintained, and they were deep and slow and pillowy powder days.  Many long rainy days with persistent gusty winds, many dank tedious walks across campus. I can’t believe I ever lived like that, loved this sport, with so little sunshine.  It was just before the omnipresent affordability of thermal wear and dry lite and goretex, my wet clothes and cleats must have been awful. I don’t remember well, which more likely means I too was disgusting and did not remember, rather my them actually being fresh like daisies. In 1992, one of my first ‘big’ purchases – as an actual adult with a job in the world – was a purple goretex jacket, the still enjoys its days as a Vecino in Rocky Point.

My first tournament ever was a drizzly fall day. 3-4 cars of us drove up early that morning, and I was awestruck by the crisp passes and catches the seniors displayed. Remembering it now, clearly – Matt, Hugh and Randy seemed to be running a drill. Like a drill they gained little yardage or imposed their will,  like 20 years later I expect to see of expert players.  The predatory rhythm of catch, lean, fake, take wide open space to throw a strike .

There was a guy on Lehigh named Little Pete, who was good before I was and I did not cover. Lehigh had a guy named Squiggy when I was a junior and senior, and I would match up and usually take care of him. Squiggy and I played on the Letterman in DC.

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I picked up with a team of mostly-Seattle top-flight players. I was ok being a role player at #15 on the roster. I

Daweena in 2001 when i picked up with Sockeye and won it; I had not loosened up the knee and back enough, and first point I doinked a goal over my head in the endzone then proceeded to throw two turnovers…all in my first point, with a bunch of guys who had played in multiple Finals at Nationals

I did it at Centex in 99, I did it when I picked up with the Miami Refugees at a tournament in Tampa earlier that year. I played very very well for a few years, even around a knee surgery.

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A gift from a michigan native, before my senior year. I think it was teammate Ted Ernst, good guy that i would love to catch-up with.

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My league team finished runner-up in Tucson in 98 or 9. I captained the team, and we let the finals slip away. I have a VHS of the game, and I throw 6 goals and catch 1. I know that if I watch that tape again I will still want to have a few minutes of leadership back, event though I personally had a monster night.

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Bought at Ivies one year, maybe 1989. That fall some of us went up early to Yale to party. Rain blocked traffic the whole drive up through NYC, made wandering through the campus boringly familiar, and led partygoers universally to be in a shitty mood. Mark got us all physically thrown out of a party, proclaiming the punch was making him more sober. He majored in philosophy, and his coolness and friendship was one of the draws to that major. I bicker Tiger Inn my sophmore year and was drunker than i’ve still evern been for a week straight. Mark broke the news to me the morning after the votes.

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it was another one of those career-defining Phoenix caving moments. Or maybe you always rmeember your great losses more. survery of athletes?

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somehow this came to me cause i was the team captain for the UPA Fall Series.  It was for a team named Capitol Punishment, maybe, in 1993, i think.

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my good friend Alex designed this. It was ahead of its time for mash-up design, as were the programs he was so proud to have used for it. He has been in Silicon Valley for many years.

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Vassar was about 3 hours north of Princeton. I drove up early that morning, we went 4-0, I had a cornerstone-for-me-at-the-time throw to win the game against Suny Binghamton. I hopped in my car as soon as our day was done and drove home, cleaned up, and did a show not far from school. I was collecting discs and spending money like a fool with my burgeoning standup career.

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bought this one from the team I beat with that throw.

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eeeeeee

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It is still crystal clear to me that I bought this from a short jewish girl with big tits, on a rainy day in the Mid-Atlantic. Most of the Venus girls were, most of the U Penn Void guys were short jewish guys.  Disciplined, competitive, they had neon orange road-workers suits that seemed perfect for the conditions. I remember 3 guys from those teams.  Chris and I played and co-captained a club team in 1994 in DC.  I saw him next again in 2000 at Coed NAtionals in Minneapolis. He was still : Adam, who was a good natured stoner that i bonded with in 1991 during Philly summer league, dreadlocks flipping when he said ‘man, you run like a dog’.  My team, the Blue Chunks, won league that year. I had won a hat tournament that summer.

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42

This year sounds like is should be special!

I don’t feel older, but I do. tireder, fatter, brokendowner, greyer, grumpier, drunker and duller. I’m not sure I can make 42 more at this rate of decline.

Genevieve asks if I wish i was a kid. Sweetheart…you can’t imagine how badly. When she asks what I wanted i can’t even remember. Now i just want a day off.

Looking back is revisionist history written by my current state of mind. Bad days it is makes me depressed, melancholic, regretful of every choice that landed me right here where I am. Good days I celebrate every moment leading up to this one of perfection, but focus more on the accomplished feeling rather than the feeling. At what age did it become so hard to be happy? Sometime around 2 kids, 2 mortgages and 2 jobs ago…

Genevieve was psyched to give me a present, Beckie bought cake, and goddamit it was time for ThNR, even if it would be table for 1.

It was the worst 1 hr ride ever. Sidewall slice, pedal smack riding the wrong lines to protect the soggy rear wheel sent me tumbling over bars banging both knees in exactly the same spot, and I couldnt even find my own damn tequila tree.

but I did. and all was well again, at least for awhile.

99.1%

Dr. Dre – The Day The Niggaz Took Over

Read this article: An Investment Manager’s View on the Top 1%

Very eye opening. A lot of people I know – neighbors, colleagues, school friends – are likely considered the top 1%.  Or likely to be there if they continue on their current pattern of working and saving. My wife and I have years of college, Beckie 5+ years working on a post-grad degree, continuous post-college high-pressure employment, and consistent savings. For the past 15 years we’ve maxed our 401k’s, saved probably 1/3 our incomes, driven our cars til they were 10 yrs old, paid off our monthly credit card balances, and avoided any debt other than mortgages which we set up so that they could be paid by either one of our incomes. The author is right that is not a bad place to be, and I’m thankful every day for my brains, stable family growing up, good health, education and the country that allowed me to do well when given those opportunities. But I got fucked in the recession too – huge loss to the savings I’d contributed to for 20 yrs, house value fell to what I paid for it in 2000. Not as bad as someone who lost their house and job, but like 30% of my net worth *poof*. 6-7yrs of working every day *poof*. So, yeah, I’m mad as all get-out.

What I don’t think people who are so anti-OWS get is that its a very fine line between the guy who took out student loans, bought a house at the peak, and didn’t save vs. the bottom of the top 1%, those 53% paying taxes but still struggling. We still got jacked by an unfair system. The people poo-poo’ing the movement as ‘lazy people who want handouts‘ are so busy being repubnicant to see that, well, 99.5% of us have a lot more in common than different. Yes, living within your means and saving has softened the blow to you, and thankfully there are a lot of you and I still solvent and keeping the train on the rails.  In return we still have a house and a job while others have lost almost everything…but we are still swimming upstream. That is not America. America is about a level playing field. Rupert Murdoch’s zombie army need to open their eyes and read their damn bank statements. It really is time for a class war.

MoveOn, or whomever is going to harness the awareness OWS is raising to these systematic inequalities, needs to keep this in a centrist framework. I don’t think they are at all capable of doing so, too beholden to their liberal audience and too fundamentally liberal themselves to see the broad themes instead of getting their pinko panties in a bunch over pimples. Typical idiot democrats. Instead of sending around a centrist message, MoveOn sends me requests to email the Mayor of Oakland chapping him for his over-aggressive police. Why don’t they send me the address of my Congressman and the Buffet Chain Letter? People living in a park and banging drums can not be the lasting image of opposition to the inequalities in our system! EVERYONE should get behind leveling the playing field, Congressmen being compensated like the rest of us, consistent tax rates for all entities, and intelligent bank regulation. Fracturing into extreme positions like social justice or universal health care will continue to highlight our differences. These issues are symptoms of our economy failing and moving towards plutocracy. Even libertarians espouse the need for corrective action towards flaws in the system. A healthy stable economy and fair opportunities will go a lot further to correcting these other symptomatic problems than some masterplan like Obamacare or other non-centrist proposals.

I am not optimistic. We’ve let the argument be co-opted for too long already, another symptom of a deteriorating system,I don’t think the average person is capable of opening their 3rd eye and taking our economy back.

My New Bar

For $13 i rolled the dice with an internet p2p streaming provider, telecasting Slingbox and iPhone ports of NFL games. From out of the country.  Black market.

I would gladly buy a service from the nfl, but not for the ass-raping of DirectTV and Sunday ticket. The  horse  has left the barn and if the NFL won’t take the money a market’s dynamic pricing will give them, they willl lose $13 to the black market.  I must admit when at 9:46 the link for the Ealges stream was still not published i was about to spin over to The Temple. Then i had to figure out the right buffering, and if it was the stream or the pipe when i got so many timeouts on my laptop upstairs.

I’m willing to concede some inconvenience, like moving the trainer downstairs. 

But the office has a much better monitor and sound system, typing is awful, reinforcing tersity in my stream of blather. What the picture lacks in clarity, or even not tiling, it makes up for in sound.  Id rather watch a shitty picture with sound and burn calories and sorta hang out with the family, then spend $35 and stare across a room in silence, interrupted only by the yammering from Bears and Cardinals fans.

I’m pretty sure with some hookups we could actually put this on our big screen, but combining the workout makes it a masterpieces of multitasking and ocd fandom.

Dang, wish i invented this

I would be rich. I would break pvc just so i could go fix it, for only $4 a pop. i will have to be satisfied with an easy sprinkler valve replacement.

Contract Proposal for the Arabian Library

I spent about 30 hours this week turning the Mesa house over for new renters. It hurt, seriously anal-rape hurt, lower-back missing workouts hurt, sawdust and diatomaceous earth in my pores and gravel and drywall turdlings from the ceiling under my fingernails hurt. We pocketed a nice chunk and didn’t miss a month of income.

This same week a little QA contract I have been nudging into place finally kicked off.  Plying my skeelz for myowndamnself.  I’m psyched about the tax write-off potential, and a new challenge, drawing inspiration from a weekend snowboarding with a college bud who’s been banging away in Silicon Valley for 15 years.  I made in the morning almost enough to cover the new dishwasher the old house needed, more-than-enough if you include the sick day i took from work. The cell phone was ringing from 4 different masters once you add in Beckie. The dishwasher repairman asked me when i walked in: how much do you like this dishwasher?

I wonder at the cost of my free time, my investments, my income stream, and any sweet spot along the calculus curve of comfort and value and happiness and sunsets and beautiful children. Planning and endowments, risk aversion and fidelity, adult responsibilities.

I am tentatively calling my contract job ‘Snowboard Telluride.’  Or, ‘Firebird‘.  I haven’t decided.  Its a fun decision to make. Beckie just did a little contract job last weekend, a brain-for-hire, pecking away on her laptop while I drove us to Rocky Point. I was calling that ‘PT Bike‘, hoping she wouldn’t figure it out til she saw the credit card bill. She was a step ahead of me, and thought the Malice would be a nice birthday gift for me and the girls, while treating herself to patio furniture.

Are we conditioned to work hard, harder than needed?  Or are we still on the curve, maximizing our utility while our skills are most relevant?  I can not tell the difference, i’m so programmed, so settled into pushing the rock. I hope its the later, i’m not sure.

Last week Alana crashed the entire checkout system at the Library, in 15 seconds.  None of my apology, my professional qualifications, nor my assertion that their supplier should not leave a master switch exposed at perfect toddler arm-level shook the librarian’s mousy posture. I was actually quite amused, relishing the power in the opening for my expertise, after G’s delays gave Alana an opening. If your barcode reader is good enough to identify the book and author and serial number, why does it report a bad swipe? If your system can be brought to its knees by a 2-yr old, you have a serious bug.

Earlier, a kindly old snarky Library volunteer informed us how the girls’ squeals were carrying.  Why do you build a magical children’s discovery room, with puppets and blocks and magnets and puzzles, encourage kids to develop a love of reading, and separate it from the main reading room by only partition walls?

i am living by the sword.