Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Updatito sobre Alfredito

That's "a little update on little Alfredo" -- stop me if my Spanish lingo gets too complex for you.

At the hospital this evening, I talked with Antonia and discovered that, if you think decoding and responding to Spanish is hard, you should try decoding and responding to medical Spanish delivered through tears and sobbing.

Seems that Alfredo's having some trouble with his right lung, and the hospital folks have put in a(nother) tube to help drain some yellow fluid from it. His kidneys are still on the fritz, so he continues to need dialysis and his blod is clotting so quickly that they've had some trouble with the dialysis machine.

Bottom line at this point is keep praying for Alfredito's overall health, and specifically his kidneys and lungs. Also pray for some rest for his mom, Antonia. She has not slept well for going-on-several-days now.

¡Gracias, amigos! I'll give you another update as I learn more.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Law and Order: Special Shenanigans Unit

So I was watching the SVU just now, and whilst enjoying Robin Williams's insane character and his multiple ripped-from-the-headlines plot devices, I came across an actual real-life investigation that reads like a James Patterson novel.

These two investigators have uncovered a clue -- a smiley face, of all things -- that connects more than 40 murders suspicious deaths of athletic, intelligent, well-liked college students over the past decade, mostly in the upper Midwestern US. They have identified a large, highly-organized, yet cell-ified, group of killers -- know some of their names, even! -- and yet they have not moved to detain them, for fear of catching one cell but letting another cell (or many others) go underground forever, ruining any shot at a criminal case.


Like, seriously: What?! I call Shenanigans. Is this not some sort of public safety issue? Shouldn't they be doing something about this? Won't someone please think of the children!? I kind of think the investigating detectives aren't being entirely truthful. Or, it could be, there's a very big part of my brain that doesn't want what they're saying to be true. A network of killers in the Midwest? No, thank you.

Also, if this were a James Patterson novel, you know that Professor Lee Gilbertson from St. Cloud State College would totally be, like, the ringleader of the gang. (That's a linking comprehension test -- did you watch the whole video on the page I linked to in the second paragraph?)

Now, if you'll excuse me, since I have just inadvertently busted this case wide open, I must go into hiding. First, though, allow me to point out that I am neither young nor athletic, nor all that intelligent, nor all that well-liked, really -- I don't at all fit the victim profile. (So far. GUNG-GUNG!)

A Social Network Has Rules, Scott!

I attended a workshop last week about "Web 2.0" and using various social networking sites to promote and connect your business or not-for-profit organization. One of the sites mentioned in the workshop was Smaller Indiana, a social networking site designed to "make creative people and innovative ideas easier to find."

I signed up for an account and after being approved (!), I started toying around with the page and seeing what does what. The thing encouraged me to start a Smaller Indiana blog, so I put on the Smaller Indiana blog the same thing that I had on my personal blog -- the MLK+RFK event announcement.

When I went back a couple hours later, I had no blog posted but I did have a message from Pat Coyle, the site creator:

I had to take down your event announcement from your blog. Please use the event calendar, or the fourm "events for creative class" to announce events. We're trying to keep blogs focused on insights, opinions and discussion rather than advertising.

Now, I can understand that this community to which I am new has rules, and it's my responsibility to learn them. And I've also just now found out that when you post to your personal blog on Smaller Indiana, it immediately posts to the Smaller Indiana homepage (which I did not know).

But basically, you have to use your words and, from the sound of things, you have to be pithy enough to not get chucked. For example, according to the latest blog posts on the Smaller Indiana homepage, you have to be able to talk about stuff like these people:
  • Some guy telling you why your e-mail doesn't work and offering a potentially helpful, potentially stupid solution: Do nothing.
  • A woman who is writing her first blog.
  • A man who is voting for Obama (whose first name he misspells "Barak") in part because in his speeches, he says "we" more and Clinton's speeches use "I" more.
  • A woman from Ohio (I think?) who is, in fact, advertising an event -- which, if I'm reading Pat's message correctly means that her post is out-of-bounds, too. And yet, there it is.
I'm not sure I'm long for Smaller Indiana. It doesn't really feel good so far, although I did connect with a long-lost friend's brother and found out that she (my long-lost friend) and her husband have twins!

So that's something, right?

You should come: MLK + RFK: A LEGACY WE SHARE

Join us at 4:00pm on Friday, May 2, for a mile-long walk showcasing the unique role our neighborhood plays in American history. We will travel from Broadway Church (29th and Broadway) to King Park (21st and Broadway) as we recreate and provide perspective on speeches from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Robert F. Kennedy.

For more information, contact Scott Semester: 317.924.4207 or

Monday, April 28, 2008

Blogtastic Flashback!

I'm going through old "funny" e-mails I sent two years ago, pre-blog. Here are some of them:

Saturday, September 24, 2005
Subject: The next four hurricane names - not threatening!

At least Katrina sounds like a Russian whore who will bite you and steal your shoes. And Rita sounds like a Latina hottie who will cut you (or, possibly, be one of the few artists to win a Grammy, Emmy, Oscar, Tony, Golden Globe AND Cable Ace Award). Threatening!

But these are the next four hurricane names for the 2005 season: Stan, Tammy, Vince, and Wilma. Not threatening, unless they're the swingers at that freaky-deaky club in Muncie, in which case they are terrifying.

Come on -- how much would it suck to have to say "Tammy destroyed my house" or "Life hasn't been the same since Wilma"?

Wednesday, October 5, 2005
Subject: So, I'm watching Maury...

It's "Sexy, Shocking Updates!" day on Maury.

They just did a sexy, shocking update on a show ("Crazy Opposites In Love!") which featured "Little Lacey," a featured stripper -- whatever that is -- who is also a midget, who is in love with a very very tall man. So, we get the update that Lacey is on a tour of Texas ("Good luck, Lacey!"), but we get no update as to the fate of the relationship with the tall guy. Teases.

THEN, they did the update of "My mom is 100% sure I'm not the father of your baby!" (I'm not even making that up.) Said show featured this guy whose mom was positive that he was not the father of either of the babies whose mothers accused him of being the dad. (Got that?) Anyway, the original show concluded that the guy's mom was, in fact, correct, and the paternity tests concluded that he was the father of neither child. And yet the only "Sexy, Shocking Update!" Maury provided was that the both newborns are fine and healthy. There was no, "And the paternity tests were proven wrong and he WAS the father!" or "And they all died in a Murder-Murder-Suicide pact!" or anything. Neither sexy, nor shocking, nor -- for that matter -- an update, really. You suck, Maury.

Saturday, December 3, 2005
Subject: "Like unbeatable" is not "unbeatable."

But (genetically-engineered, chemically-enhanced cyborg) military amputee Paralympians are definitely unbeatable.

Thursday, January 5, 2006
Subject: I crap you not: "Movies That Rock" edition

I've seen some funny things in my time. Even some things I'd describe as hilarious.

But this? Oh, dear God:

So Grease is the VH1 Movies That Rock feature this afternoon, and it's on in the break room.

(Wait for it...)

And, go figure, the same Benny Hill / Boy Meets World crowd is fully into Grease.

(Wait for it...)

So I come back from the food court with my chicken bake and Coke and almost fall on the floor when I see eight cashiers, stockers, and assorted maintenance workers who were -- wait for it -- doing what I can only characterize as an enthusiastic rendition of the hand-jive. And I do not mean mocking the hand-jive; I mean full-on, goofy-smilin', hand-jiving, good, clean 50's fun.

My friends, this is the sort of stifled laughter on par with that caused by Natalie's Baywatch recap when I was in the Somerville Branch of the Boston Public Library in June 1998. This is the sort of stifled laughter that bursts blood vessels in your eye. This is the sort of stifled laughter that will render you infertile. I silent-cry-laughed for at least ten minutes and then every time I calmed down I'd just start up again.

It's an image that I fear is burned into my head for eternity. And I love it! :)

Saturday, April 22, 2006
Subject: This requires audio but is absolutely hilarious

Why would you go on TV -- even local cable-access TV -- if you don't know the words to your two, TWO, songs?

So you see, dear reader, I have been internettily snarky for quite some time. The advent of the blog simply made things easier on my friends' inboxes.

This is, apparently, a picture of a pug dressed as Teen Wolf.

via Gillian Reagan

Click it to laugh and go "Hmmm..."

Sunday, April 27, 2008

"Oh, my Goooooooood!"

If you missed this on SNL a couple weeks ago, you missed out. I'm a big fan of Kristen Wiig -- this character Sue and the Target Lady, specifically...both characters are full of excitement and joy and hilarity.

I also love the noise Amy Poehler makes immediately prior to saying, "Shut it, Sue!"

I am all a-Twitter

Here's a video about the Twitter stream I've added to the left sidebar:

Twitter in Plain English from leelefever on Vimeo.

Go(ing to) Speed Racer, Go(ing)

Researchers have proven that I am a mass-marketer's highly-suggestible dream come true.

As Exhibit #2,045 of about 4,000,000, I present the music video for "Go, Speed Racer, Go" by Ali Dee and the Deekompressors. I had no intention of seeing the Speed Racer movie, and yet now that I have watched this video, I am almost certain that I will be seeing this movie the weekend it is released.

Alfredo Update

Thanks to everyone for their continued prayers for Alfredito!

The latest info I have says that he's going to be in the hospital for several weeks as his medical team figures out the problems that led to his kidneys malfunctioning, and they'll need to be very deliberate in the order in which they treat the various failing systems. They think with a good five to seven days of dialysis, Alfredo will be in shape for them to tackle the next issue -- whatever that next issue is.

So, the little champ is in for a long haul -- your continued prayers and positive thoughts will help and be greatly appreciated! I'll try to share more information as we learn more.

I am...the Godfather

Madelynn got baptized yesterday, and while I'm officially on the list at Carmel Lutheran Church as one of her "sponsors," she is called my godchild and, therefore, I have been working on my best Marlon Brando impression over the last couple days.

Here's a pic of Madelynn enjoying the traditional (to Lutherans) post-baptismal high kick:

Saturday, April 26, 2008

The latest on Alfredito

I went over to Riley after class this morning to visit Alfredo. He's still on the ventilator, but the nurses were tight-lipped and I only had time to leave a note for Antonia and say a prayer before heading out.

Here's an update that Iván sent out earlier today:

Dear Friends,

It is with a heavy heart that I write to you to let you know that Alfredito is fighting for his life at Riley Children Hospital in Indianapolis.

On Thursday April 24 he underwent a second surgery to correct his birth defect of ambiguous genitalia. The procedure went by the book and exactly as it was planned. His surgery started at 3 pm and by 8 pm we were already in the recovery room. A quite shorter procedure compared to the first one performed last year.

Everything was developing quite normal when around 1 am he began to have problems to breathe. His condition deteriorated fairly rapidly and at 4 am we were taken to a special Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at Clarion North Hospital. Even in intensive care his condition continued deteriorating and the doctors finally determined that Alfredo's kidneys had stopped working. The excessive fluid in his body was accumulating in his lungs and were causing the problem to breathe and subsequently he also developed a case of pneumonia. The doctors had to struggle to prevent his condition to continue deteriorating and around 6 am they decided to entubate him because he was no longer able to breathe on his own.

The decision was made to stabilize him and transfer him to Riley's ICU to have dialysis since his kidneys had stopped working. Eventually Alfredito was stabilized sometime around 11 am on the 25th. Right now, 3 am on the 26th, Alfredito is breathing through a machine and he is under continued dialysis until the doctors figure out why his kidneys are not working. He is in stable but critical condition and by no means he is out of the woods. The next 48 hours are critical. But no matter how well he develops he will be in the hospital several weeks if not months.

I ask you that you please keep Alfredito and his family in your prayers. I promise I will keep you informed the best I can and try to send you updated information every other day.

I'll keep you posted and let you know when I learn anything new.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Need some help -- stat

Hey, y'all -- a quick time-out from the videos, jokes, and general merriment for a second. I need your help.

Alfredo, the three-year-old from El Salvador who was staying with me for the last three weeks had surgery yesterday and things went well, but as he was in recovery, he started having trouble breathing and went into kidney failure. He's in the ICU at Riley now, and he needs some positive energy -- whatever your brand of that is: prayers, spells, meditation, positive thoughts, etc.

I just talked to Iván and things sound pretty bleak -- take a minute and think about/pray for/visualize a healthy Alfredo and peace for his mom Antonia, OK?

Something's definitely happening on ABC...

via Paul Scheer

I absolutely love ABC's vague mid-80s tagline "Something's Happening." It just leaves so many possibilities open.

A Myposian and his square cousin and their inexplicably hot flight attendant stewardess girlfriends rapping? That is definitely something happening.

Ten impossibly nerdy gifted high-school students and their hip teacher, goofy fat principal, and oddly hot assistant principal laying down the secondary track? Why not? It's definitely something happening.

Me going to Amazon to see if I can update my wishlist with the DVD of Head of the Class? You better believe THAT something is happening.

White Whine (.com)

Streeter Seidell from has started a website chronicling "a new white-person complaint every day of the week." Much like Stuff White People Like, this blog is not without controversy, but it does make me laugh.

My favorite so far:
“Honestly, you’d think that when my Landrover is getting worked on at the dealership they’d give me another Landrover to drive in the meantime. A Honda Accord? Really?
Classic. You white people are crazy.

Face Facts

This morning I learned about a free-to-use site called FaceStat, where you upload a pic of yourself and then they pay people (like, other random strangers) to evaluate you on a variety of factors such as your marital status, age, etc., based solely on your picture.

They call it "market research for the individual."

Curious, I uploaded a picture, and the six people who have evaluated me so far think I'm a funny, trustworthy, chunky, married 39-year-old with above average intelligence. Based on the one pic I uploaded.

It could be far worse, I guess -- although they don't really agree on anything (except that the statements "This person is male" and "This person is intoxicated" are true and false, respectively). The description above is a majority-rules analysis of the votes so far.

One of them even guessed my (blond-haired and blue-eyed) ethnicity as Native American. So you get even less than what you pay for, I guess.

Here's an example of what they guessed of my relationship status:

Which, huh? Not a single vote is correct there.

This FaceStat episode was just the first of two face-related awakenings today. I clicked over to the Broadway website and found this picture of me in the slideshow rotator thingy on the homepage:

Which, come on. There do exist cheesier pictures of me, but not very many.

What, exactly, do you suppose it means that I am fascinated with my face today?

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Work In Progress

Life In The Tide Pool
Originally uploaded by sssemester

I don't know if artists* usually share with you a work in progress, but I'm going to go ahead and post this to get your feedback.

Nat and I have been working on this joint project, and I think it's pretty cool. I've taken some pictures (the ones that I posted from around Broadway a couple weeks ago and others) and Nat's going to write an original short story to go with each one. We're going to format them and frame them together as one-of-a-kind wall art and then see if anyone thinks they're cool enough to want to buy one.

To the right is our prototype, even though I'm reluctant to post it. ALL rights reserved, patent pending, mama-say-mama-saw-mama-cu-saw, etc. Click it to embiggen** and let us know what you think in the comments!

* Or, you know, whatever we are.

** The actual final product will probably be 11" x 17" or so.

Things I Learned In The Last Three Weeks

  • My life choices to date (living alone, no kids, speaking English, etc.) are the right ones for me.
  • I really need to laugh a lot more than I do. It's awesome and healthy.
  • One can only hear the phrase "El pene está bien erecto," even when in the context of a medical discussion, a maximum of six times before it becomes uncontrollably, albeit inappropirately, laughable.
  • When accompanied by a medically contextual index-finger gesture, the upper laughability limit is reduced to three.
  • Milo's not that bad a name for a rabbit.
  • It feels really good to turn up the TV at 10:00 at night. When did television actors become so mumbly?
  • If you don't know the answer to a "Which baseball player...?" question, you should guess Ted Williams.
  • The appeal of Double Stuf Oreos crosses national boundaries.
  • A lot of people care about me.
  • It's probably a good idea that this is the last season of "ER."
  • I find it easier to maintain a clean house, keep a full refrigerator, and cook dinner than I thought it would be.
  • There's not that much on TV that makes sense when you have to describe it to someone who's never seen the show before and who doesn't understand the language.
  • The gardens at the Indianapolis Museum of Art are a good place to get some quiet, unless three busloads of middle-school kids unload while you're there.
  • Chick-Fil-A diet lemonade tastes a lot like regular lemonade, and it tastes even more like regular lemonade if you get it without ice.
  • It's easy to install a child car seat.
  • I'm not sure I find all that big a difference among the three candidates for President.
  • It may be time for me to lay off air travel for a while.
  • Alone time is good time for me.
  • Three-year-olds really aren't that bad, after all.

Instant Rimshot

When I was little, we always talked about getting my dad a portable laughtrack, on account of he told reeeeeeeeally bad jokes.

I present to you now the 21st century version: the instant rimshot button. Whenever you're about to tell a reeeeeeeally bad joke (I'm looking at you, Dad), visit this page, turn up your speakers, and upon relaying the punchline, click the button:


Monday, April 21, 2008

Miso Tegry

Here's my second restaurant-experience article for the Star's magazines. It's about a place called Tegry Bistro, a cool sushi place in Brownsburg that Julmille and Will and I visited in December.

I've done four articles total now -- one for Carmel Magazine, one for Noblesville Magazine, and two now for Hendricks County Magazine. I still need to track down a copy of the Noblesville one, and the second one for the HC will be published next month. I'll post 'em as soon as I can find 'em! (Even if I'm potentially violating any number of copyright laws!)

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Momo-What, Now?

I've shared with you before that I follow the blogs of several young, hip New York Cityers. I'm not sure why I do this, as their lives seem about as far from mine as a television character's would.

But lately many of them have been all aflutter over a restaurant called Momofuku Ko. And I have to tell you that, while I am quite sure the meal is excellent, I have some systematic reservations about their reservations system.


When you get there, you have to SHOW I.D.

You. Have. To show. I.D. To eat there.

Which (a) simply astounds me that a restaurant is so popular that they have to resort to that (only in New York, New York, I suppose), and (b) profoundly disappoints me because I was totally about to make a reservation and then eBay it for jillions of dollars.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Swimmin' Lessons!

Madelynn had her first try at swimming a few days ago. Looks like it was a success.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Other cool kids besides my awesome niece

It is highly unlikely that I will be posting many pics of infants and toddlers. But I will share a couple of cool baby pictures that have found their way to my inbox lately.

This is Leelen Seader of Colorado, who belongs to my friends Sandi and Jeff:

And here's Layla Tiberia of Michigan, who belongs to my friend Michelle and her husband Gianfranco, whom I haven't met but I'm sure I'd be glad to call him "friend" upon making his acquaintance:

Garfield Minus Garfield Imitates Life

Someday, when we've gotten to know each other better, you and I, I'll share with you the story of my home-barbering incident.

Most people have home-barbering incidents when they are 5 or 6 years old. I had mine when I was 25 or 26 years old.

I am not kidding.

Oh. Right.

Instant Text Message Replay!

Text from Nat this morning: So...what's shakin'?

Reply from me: Sleeping in ... Back to sleep now.

Second reply from me: Oh, and I'm home now.

[I open an e-mail from my mother which mentions an earthquake this morning that was felt from Georgia to Iowa.]

Third reply from me: And i think i just got ur pun, as i apparently slept thru an earthquake, right?

Nat: Yes dear. Back to sleep. :)

Me: Good nite.

I have the Space. Madness! jet lag

It is now 3:45 a.m. and I am wide awake. This is not cool.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Yu make me so very happy

OK, so that'll be the last Yuma pun in my post titles for a while.

This morning, I'm heading back to Indy -- leaving Yuma at 10:05am local time and making it home to Indianapolis at 9:05pm. Keep an eye on United flights 5734, 0114, and 7622 today, if you'd like to follow along.

The last couple days have been a lot of fun. On Tuesday, I drove up to Phoenix and met with a member of Broadway Church who lives there now, and she entertained me with two hours of stories from her life and the life of the church. It was her 92nd birthday on Tuesday, and she was a very gracious host -- I had a blast!

Then, on Tuesday night, I made it back just in time for Trivia Night at Famous Sam's in Yuma. I was a bit nervous going into Trivia Night, as my arrival had been much-heralded. Trivia is pretty competitive at Famous Sam's, and the team was counting on me to lead them to Total Trivia Domination. Well, I don't know how Total the Domination was, but we won 4 out of 6 rounds, including the all-important Final Round, which resulted in us winning a t-shirt. Woohoo!

Wednesday was a whirlwind of activity -- just kidding. I did spend a couple hours with Jenny at her classroom. I had a school lunch, which was surprisingly good for the $2 pricetag, and then I visited Jenny's classroom and told her first-graders about my travels to Africa and India and then we all spoke Spanish together. At the end of the day, we Jon, Jenny, and I (edited on account of JJ's a smartguy) went to dinner at Burgers and Beer and then came home for an early night of American Idol and Air Karaoke (whatever that is) before heading to sleep.

This has been a terrific trip, and I'm kind of bummed that it's over. I'm eager to get Back Home Again in Indiana, though -- I'm surprisingly nostalgic for humidity and weather changes!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Wiivents warrant

I'm just about to head out to Phoenix for a work-related thing, but I wanted to give you a Wiipdate. I just scored 258 on bowling: 10 strikes and 2 spares -- one a tough 5-10 split in the 2nd frame, the other a basic 4-7 pickup in the 9th frame.

This, if you don't know, is awesome.

Yu,ma, and everyone Wii know

Something bad happened. Something dire and tragic. Its consequences will be lasting and significant.

Jon and Jenny bought a Wii yesterday.

While we did spend the absolute minimum time seeing the sights in and around Yuma, we then rushed home from Target to bust open the Wii and get it set up. So far, Jon is better at most of the games, although Jenny is coming into her own.

More updates (Wiipdates?) as events warrant.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Safe and sound in Yuma

I got here. My suitcase did not. But other than that, it's great to be here!

Had a wonderful night's sleep and am up at the crack of 9:30 (my time -- which is the crack of 6:30, Yuma time).

Saturday, April 12, 2008 use the Force

I'm heading out to visit Jon and Jenny in Yuma, AZ, this afternoon -- posting may be a little lighter this week. (Or, since I'll be goofing off and trying not to die from the dry heat, it may, in fact, be heavier...laden with stories of air travel and the mystical Southwest. One never knows.)


Friday, April 11, 2008

An alternate theory of the resurrection

Is it "of the resurrection" or "of the Resurrection"?

Each year, about this time about three weeks ago, I start to have the same thoughts about JC and His Astonishing Feats. What was the deal? How did it work? How did it feel to be resurrected? Was he really dead? And how, exactly, did Mel Gibson manage to make millions of dollars off the story?

This is an interesting, although medically dense and therefore a touch difficult to understand, theory of what exactly went down on Golgotha-which-means-Skull. There's all kinds of stuff this doesn't address, namely what happened to Jesus after he got back up and left the tomb, but still, food for thought, right?

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

This one goes in the vault

Seriously, this video is on permanent rotation in the Scott Semester Theatre Pavilion, so whenever I'm feeling sad, lonely, or cold, I can get back to being right with the world.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Authors you should be reading but aren't

If you don't like to read, you can skip this post. I'm no book critic, although I helped edit a story for an upcoming book (Congrats, Nat!), but here, in no particular order, are some recommendations for folks you ought to be reading these days.

Etgar Keret, short-story and graphic-novel author.

Laura Hurwitz, children's author/hilarious blogger. Also mother of Jake from Jake and Amir (.com).

David Sedaris, essayist and NPRist. This guy Clif in Michigan calls him America's greatest humorist. wonders why young people call him America's greatest humorist. I am willing to agree. happen to think Sedaris is up there with the best of them.

Mari Evans, poet and professor. Part of the Broadway family.

Mimi Smartypants (nom de blog), internet diarist.

Doree Shafrir, reporter, blogger, and founder of Postcards from Yo Momma.

Scott Dierdorf, dad, dot-com product developer (?) and blogger.

Barton M. Biggs, former chief global strategist at Morgan Stanley and current author of the postmodern survivalist tome "Wealth, War, and Wisdom," which I have just added to my Amazon Wish List (see above, left).

Monday, April 07, 2008

iAy caramba! iLos gansos! ... ¿Y un castor?

The geese have lost their everloving minds.

There are currently eight of them in some sort of goosely battle royale, honking like I've never heard before. It seems to be centered around the eggs in the nest under the tree from the pictures by the edge of the pond lake loch.

And yes, that's "eggS". We've gone from one to four eggs. And there are 8 geese circling around the nest they're in, honking, wagging their tongues, and flapping their formidable wings threateningly.

In other pond lake loch laguito news, as I was watching one of the several rounds of fights, I know it may make very little sense, but I saw a beaver, or a muskrat, or some other semi-aquatic mammal swimming around. Does that compute? Are there such creatures in the greater Eagle Creek metropolitan area?

Just the VAX, ma'am

I am sitting in my bedroom (in the sitting portion, not the bedding portion) and was just typing an e-mail to some friends. For some reason, I had a fifteen-years-ago flashback and instead of clicking "SEND" to send the e-mail, I almost hit CTRL-ENTER.

For those who don't know, which is, like, everybody, CTRL-ENTER was the "SEND" command for VAX, the e-mail system at Indiana University in the early 1990s. Back when you had to sign on to a specific "node" (amber, jade, aqua, etc.) and back when e-mail was all text-based and if you wanted to download or upload an attachment you needed basic knowledge of DOS and/or UNIX. Back when the main web browser of choice was Netscape and you had literally no idea what you were looking for because the web was new. And back when IMing was called VAXPhone or bitnet.

Anyway, what on earth would have made me hit CTRL-ENTER in Yahoo! Mail?


Because John McCain is ... ... a ghostly peeping tom?

I'm just afraid of what other things-that-rhyme-with-McCain songs they're going to come up with. (You're So Vain, November Rain, Have You Ever Seen the Rain, Purple Rain -- which, please God, no.)

Guest Gabbin' II: Deep Conversations

In this edition of Gabbin' About My Guests, I shall share with you four things that I have had to explain in my short time with my guests from El Salvador who do not speak English. Bear in mind that I am explaining the following with about an 8th-grade vocabulary and frequently mangled verb conjugations.

Here are some of the tricky things we've discussed in the last couple days:
  1. A brief history of race relations in the US and why there aren't more African-Americans in Indiana
  2. What it means that the US economy might be heading for a recession
  3. The primary and general election processes in the US (including a visual aid when an Obama campaign volunteer tried to get us to register to vote at Wal-Mart)
  4. Why the two men on Jerry Springer right now are fighting over the same woman who is actually also a man while puppets and burly security men stand by and watch it happen

Sunday, April 06, 2008

And another thing, barista edition

Did I tell you that the barista at Starbucks today greeted me with "Guten Abend!"?

Which, in addition to just being weird, totally scrambled my mind because I'm dancing as fast as I can to keep up in two languages. I do not need some hipster jag tossing a third into my life right now.

Gabbin' About My Guests

For the next three weeks, my new friends from El Salvador, Antonia and Alfredo, will be staying with me. So I've decided to start a semi-regular post called "Gabbin' About My Guests" to give you an update on how things are going.

To get you up to speed, the following factoids about my guests:
  • They are from El Salvador (come on, if you didn't get that above, you're not going to be able to keep up...really)
  • Antonia is in her early 30's, and she is Alfredo's mom. Alfredo turned 3 in December.
  • They do not speak English.
  • They were brought here through CoCoDA, an organization that has an office at Broadway, and whose mission is to promote justice in Central America. They came so Alfredo can have an operation on April 24. A day or so before his operation, they'll head to another volunteer's home for another three or four weeks.

The update so far: Alfredo and Antonia arrived on Friday, April 4. I picked them up from the airport, and we came home and made dinner (baked chicken, green beans and Pasta Roni).* Then, we met with Iván from CoCoDA and then went to sleep. Saturday, I had a class in the morning; then I came home and we made lunch (leftover chicken in tortillas, Doritos, and fruit cups). We went for a walk around the neighborhood and chilled out in the evening, then made a salad, a frozen pizza, and some garlic bread for dinner. Shortly thereafter, we called it a night.

This morning, I went to worship at the PREF in Plainfield (on the way to which I was pulled over for speeding but, luckily, only got a warning -- 60 in a 45 isn't that bad, is it?) and came back after lunch to find my houseguests with runny noses and sore throats -- seriously, in El Salvador, it's like Rainforest Hot, and here it's barely in the 60s; it's no wonder they've caught colds. So we went to Wal-Mart and bought some medicine and then went on a wild goose chase for una tarjeta telefónica so Antonia can call home to El Salvador. (Wal-Mart didn't have them, the gas station we first went to had them but wouldn't sell them to me because Mbar, the guy behind the counter,** didn't know how to run it through, and then the second gas station we went to had them and sold them to me but didn't know how to activate them, which the manager finally came out and helped us through.)

I am proud of my suggestion of soup for dinner -- I popped four boxes of Mrs. Grass Chicken Noodle into a pot and -- voila! -- ten minutes later, we had chicken noodle soup, Ritz crackers with peanut butter and Nutella, and Mountain Dew for dinner. Not the most nutritious, but it was the most either of them ate all day, so I figure it must have felt OK going down. (They both had seconds, which -- again -- I was proud of.)

Now we're just chilling out, trying to get them well! (And I'm trying to pretend that my own emerging runny nose and sore throat aren't anything to worry about.)

* If you thought the most challenging thing about their visit is that they don't speak English, that's really just barely in the Top Three:

  1. Alfredo is a three-year-old, and I don't know from kids. Seriously.
  2. My job is to make sure they're housed and fed. Read that again: "and fed." So I've been cooking. Pray for all of us.
  3. They speak only Spanish. Which, other than a few mangled conjugations of verbs and a lazy tongue that gets in the way of proper pronunciation, we're actually doing OK.

** Whose name I swear I did not make up.

Madelynn is on the wagon

A Radio Flyer, even. Although I don't remember the wagons of my youth being quite so posh.

Word is, because of her joy for the swings, she's also getting one of those installed soon as her parents and grandparents staff get around to it.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Well, that didn't take long.

I took a nap this afternoon and dreamed dreamt had a dream en español.

Bobby Carter is back. And he is PISSED.

I think from now on, I will use the construct "[Noun] [is/are] back. And [he/she/they] [is/are] PISSED" for every post title.

This is just one of the videos from's Top Ten Best 1980's Cable Access Moments Ever. And it is awesome.

I think the best part of the whole video (in addition to Bobby Carter's deathray glances offstage) is the drummer in the Michael Fobes part. I'm not sure it's possible to be less engaged or less invested in what you're doing than he is as he half-assedly lays the beat for Michael F's "Do Re Mi."

Friday, April 04, 2008

The Filipinos are back. And they are PISSED.

The description of this new Filipino prisoner dance video (whoever thought THAT would be a phrase I'd type?) includes something about the prisoners doing this as a protest against the way someone referred to some Cardinal or whatever.

Who knew that the Footloose School of Civil Disobedience had made its way to the Far East?

Anywho, it's clear from this video what I must do. I shall commit to memory each of the Filipino prisoner dances and then, when I have the opportunity to do so at the next wedding reception, bar mitzvah and/or fundraiser, I shall perform said dance.

I shall find my soulmate when I find the only other person in the world who knows all the dances by heart.

Es un equipo de policía que usa matemáticas para luchar contra criminales.

My houseguests from El Salvador, Alfredo and Antonia, arrived this evening. So far, it's going great. We met at the airport, came home and made dinner, met with Iván from CoCoDA, and watched some TV while Alfredo colored. (Alfredo is 3 years old and Antonia is his mom. They're here so Alfredo can have surgery in a few weeks.)

The only challenges so far: we've mislaid the remote control and also, they don't speak English. Therefore, when (as you may have guessed) NUMB3RS came on after the Million Dollar Price Is Right Special (did you watch it? some girl won a million dollars at CLOCK GAME!), I had to explain how NUMB3RS worked. En español.

So far, so good, but your prayers will be appreciated.

Goose Wars, Episode III: The Phantom Honking

The geese are still here. I've noticed a goose-bottom-shaped hole in the ground alongside the concrete of the patio, but I'm afraid to take a picture of it, because the geese will eat me.

The weird thing is that there is a large egg at the base of the tree that you may have seen here and here. So I don't know if they've just abandoned the patio as their nest of choice, or if they're planning more laying of more eggs or what.

I'm hosting new friends from El Salvador starting this evening. One of them is a three-year-old boy, and it would be great if he could spend some time around the pond lake loch, but I don't want to leave him at the mercy of the geese, so I don't know what to do. I don't want to upset the delicate Circle of Life, but I also want my patio...

As for the title of this post, I swear I actually heard goose-honking on the way down I-65 into the office this morning. Like when you still feel finger-nerve impulses even when your hand is cut off or you still hear ringing when your cell phone is taken away. Or whatever.

I have ... the Goose ... Madness!

Thursday, April 03, 2008

A noble spirit embiggens the smallest man

I was at a conference today, and at one point a bunch of Central Indiana nonprofit leaders (and me) were discussing how to create a culture of abundance.

Our experience was that nonprofits often treat each other as competitors, out to get their own piece of the pie. The gentleman next to me was espousing his theory that, rather than competing with each other for a bigger slice of the same pie, we should work to enlarge the pie itself so that everybody is getting more.

But here's the thing -- I knew where he was going with what he was saying, and at one point he was struggling to find the right words. I was thisclose to suggesting "You mean we need to embiggen the pie."

I wonder how long it will take for \embiggen\ to become a perfectly cromulent word. Apparently, "cromulent" is already cromulent.


Don't tell the church, Part Two

Remember when I won $1,000 in the lottery and asked you not to tell the Bishop?

As far as I know, you have honored that request, so I will share another Broadway secret with you. I can trust you, right?

Jim Fore, Broadway's webmaster and A/V guy and all-around volunteer extraordinaire, is working on a project for school and asked if I had any information on the history of Broadway. It just so happened that I had a book in my desk called "This Is Broadway, 1873-1987," provided to me by Nancy Zent.

Jim just forwarded the clip below. Again, it's best if we don't tell the Bishop, even though I honestly have no idea what this means, exactly:

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

The siege of indeterminate gender continues

Now with more goosiness!

Georgie has found him- or herself a lifemate husband wife spouse unindicted co-conspirator partner in crime.

I went to open the curtains this morning and was greeted with squawking and wingflapping the likes of which the world has not seen since Bob Uecker walked in on Mr. Belvedere naked in his dressing room. Or was that Tony walking in on Angela when she was getting out of the tub? I forget.

Anyway, I am ready for the siege to be over. I would like to use my patio, but for that to happen, it must be both goose- and poop-free.

Neither of which seems to be on the horizon any time soon.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

You're not helping, Milo.

And now, just as we've accepted that Georgie the goose of indeterminate gender will be here for a while -- and subsequently closed the curtains -- Milo has taken it upon himself to stir up trouble by hanging out at the bottom of the curtains, even flagrantly standing on his hind legs at the patio door, and taunting Georgie.

It's gonna be a long spring.

In which we meet Georgie, the goose of indeterminate gender

Once upon a time, a crazy insane goose named Georgie visited a pond lake loch in the Kingdom of the Hidden Bay.

Georgie, who may have been a boy goose and may have been a girl goose, enjoyed playing with the other geese, frolicking in and around the pond lake loch and honking and squawking and making goose poop. Lots of goose poop. I mean, lots.

One day, Georgie fell madly in love. With him- or herself, apparently.

Georgie fell so madly in love with him- or herself that he or she took up residence right outside one of the many castles lining the pond lake loch and proceeded to peck at his or her reflection in the glass on the door to that castle's patio. When the prince who lived there finally figured out what the hell was making that noise, he confronted Georgie, encouraging him or her through the closed patio door to, "Get the hell out of here, you goose. Jesus!"

But Georgie's love for him- or herself could not be extinguished. And he or she stayed on the prince's patio all night. And into the next day. And into the next night.

Until the prince gave up and resigned himself to the day -- coming soon, no doubt -- when Georgie would build a nest and lay eggs or figure out some other way to continue to occupy the patio, rendering it useless. And also poop-covered.