The Week That Was

That certainly flew by.

1. For the next month, or perhaps longer, I shall be working in San Jose – 50 miles from here. This translates into about 3 – 3.5 hours/day in a car. Historically, I’ve moved to be closer to work when the one-way commute exceeded 20 minutes. Now, however, since this will run a limited time, and I’ve got this wife and kids, I’m going to just do it.

The scenery is usually nice, especially for next the month before everything dries up and turns brown until next November.

Fallout: very little posting. Boo, and, I might add, hoo. But it also provides ample time for prayer, meditation, listening to EWTN and TRYING NOT TO GET KILLED BY MANIACS ON THE FREEWAY!!!! Now, how much and what quality of prayer I’ll get in is open, but hey, can’t say I’m not getting plenty of opportunity.

2. I got a year older – at this point, I’m aging digitally. I made dinner, we had sorbet for dessert, and watched Princess Bride with the kids – it was good.  I’m named Joseph after St. Joseph, being born on St. Joseph’s day and all. I’m grateful I didn’t come a couple days early – I’d have made a lousy Patrick.

3. Do you ever want to do something, then think: OK, but I’d better do this other things first, then remember that you have to do that thing before you do this thing and – well, what appeared to be a simple task results in major, multi-stage work that takes forever? A year ago, when I began studying Greek, I wanted to have a desk to spread out materials where I didn’t need to pack them up and put them away every evening, as I needed to do when I used our dining room table. I have such a desk in the music room, long abandoned to being a repository for stray junk – and the music room is really just a sheet-rocked area in the garage, I wanted more comfort than that. The plan: move the desk to the bedroom. Easy-peasy, right?

By a doom fell and certain, logic inescapable established that I must first get a new TV – don’t even ask, but it works.  I’d never purchased a TV in my life, since its only use for me is watching videos and now Netflix – on commercial channels, by the second ad, I’m thinking, in the words of an all-pro defensive back, of tackling “three feet past” the TV – which would damage the walls. PBS – let’s not go there. Anyway, our third free  hand-me-down TV that we’d had for 15 years  was starting to flicker a bit (after about 30 years of total use), and those flat screens had come down in price so much – well, it was time.  But: the letterbox shape of the new TV was not going to work in the roughly square area vacated by the old TV. So:

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This is a media case I just built. It holds almost all our DVDs, old video cassettes and CDs – freeing up space for the new TV! And adding a month or two further delay in getting the desk moved into the bedroom. See, in order to have room for this new case, a nice bookcase had to be moved – where? Why, the bedroom, of course! That meant rearranging things so that I could add both the desk and the bookcase. And so on and so forth, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

I’m getting close, I can feel it! Just need to find permanent homes for the junk squatting on my desk (including an old Mac tower circa 1999, and a rack of computer music geegaws and a giant old CRT monitor and…) THEN clean the spare rug that’s going under the desk and – I got to stop thinking about this.

4. My beautiful and charming 16 year old daughter is the kind of odd duck that, were she not beautiful and charming, people would say: there goes one odd duck! But no one does, for reasons mentioned. For example: of all my kids, she would have been the last one I’d have suspected was memorizing pi out to 40 digits. She also took a look at the DVD, VCR and CD mess, and promptly alphabetized the whole thing. She also the one who reads massive numbers of books and wants a Great Books education. Of course, I’ve incorporated these data points into my understanding of this now lovely young woman, as a layer on top of my mental image of her as a tiny blond 3 year old with an inscrutably content expression standing in the bathtub covered from head to foot in unnaturally red popsicle drippings. It is going to be very odd to hand her over to some guy to marry.

5. In the Drafts folder: part 2 of Economics for Catholics, in which we discuss what it means to be poor in the modern world; The Nature of Our Addiction, in which is discussed how it is that we have been wounded by the current education model, such that it is folly to believe that we all the sudden see everything clearly and reason rightly just because we’ve managed to pick up on the schooling game; as well as more stuff on Science! I’ll get right on them in the couple hours I’ll have to write on Saturday mornings for the next month – when I should be moving the desk.

6. This Crimea thing is such a complete shock. Where would anyone ever get the idea that a totalitarian nation ruled by a tyrant would use the excuse of protecting its nationals that just happen to be in what some historical accident or meddling do-gooders have determined to be another country entirely to seize territory? As someone of Czech heritage, I find the whole idea flabbergasting! My sympathy goes out to our administration, which must have been completely caught off guard by this.

7. This just cracks me up:

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A beverage company proud enough of its hot water to present it with a flourish.

Jen Fulwiler does this thing. Check it out.

Weekend Roundup:

1. Went to see the latest Star Trek flick with the fam at the local multiplex. It was OK. Best line I will immodestly claim for myself: after viewing the latest murder- and explosion-laden trailer  for the upcoming Lone Ranger flick, I whispered to my wife “I don’t think they’ve quit captured the subtle understatement of the original.”

2. End of the Year party for DVS. The agony and the ecstasy:  part 1, the Agony. Daughter # 2, age 15, baked a cake in honor of this year’s graduate, but, as temperatures reached 100F plus, the nice tower collapsed:

Leaning Tower of Fondant

The cake, with layers of vanilla, chocolate and red velvet, was (briefly) raised up on those little pillars like a wedding cake. It sported little mortarboards made out of fondant-wrapped little cake pucks with  fondant squares and little tassels. It was completely delicious nonetheless, but daughter was sad.

3. Part 2: the Ecstasy: Background: at this school, the kids are responsible for making stuff happen – the end of the year party is one thing that always gets plenty of attention. This year, there were a large number of little boys who got involved, and voted to have a Minecraft party. A whole bunch of kids came dressed up as characters, with heavily pixelated weapons. Son #2, age 17, decided to build a life-size Iron Golem, a character from the game. Thus:

As depicted in the game
as realized in plywood and spray paint
as realized in plywood and spray paint

 The most common reaction: “Wow”.  Every little boy and several little girls came by to look at it, get their pictures taken with it, ask who made it.

So, lesson for dad, who provided a lot of help in the execution of the piece: Even if you don’t see the point in spending many hours building a large awkward item that will likely just get used once – go with your son’s instincts. BTW: he did all the engineering, and has pages of detail showing exact sizes, positioning and colors.

4. Mourning Doves are legendarily stupid. Or, rather, their environment of evolutionary adaptation was different from the human-rich environment they now find themselves in.

Or something. Anyway, we leaned an 8′ ladder against the wall on the patio, and then left for three days. Here’s what happened:


Of course, we’re leaving the ladder there and pretending we don’t notice the dove, who cooperates by freezing any time we get near. So, it’s been a couple weeks now, and we’d all be disappointed and a little sad if there end up not being any chicks, or if our remarkably inattentive dog notices.

Latest Home Improvement Project:

Hanging in the stair well, a bow rack for the kid’s bows, arrows and accoutrements:

Room for 7 bows, 3 recurves and 4 compounds – we have 2 recurves and a junior compound today.

This is one of those projects that looks good from a few feet away.

Son #2 donated a piece of antler he found for the drawer pull.

As long as you don’t look too close or subject it to any significant stress, it’s a good-looking piece! (Like so many projects, by the end I’m thinking: if I ever have to make another one of these, I’ll get it right! Yet, turns out one needs few dining room tables or bow racks in a lifetime….)