Married, moved, and getting it together.

April, 2005: 31 posts.


This is the giggle of the day:

Address The Chair

We have a new address, very nearly. It’s in Simi Valley.

I am sore and hurting from moving.

The storage space we have we are nearly out of. We just have a few books, some paintings with glass, and a cat tree in there now. radness.

The new house is nearly ready for us. We’ll be staying there regular when we do some more cleaning and the previous tenant is 100% out of the house (he still has some crap in the garage and a closet).

We have a yard! Nice one too.

Area is good for walking. Very scenic.

Good space for office, for kids, for books, for parties.

It’s on a cul-de-sac. Bonus!

It’s a few minutes from the Reagan Presidential Library. Come visit and enjoy the Gipper too!

We still need a fridge. Next week. We are budgeting ourselves, and coolers work for a while.

Dev, my stepson, can play Tetris with boxes in a moving like nobody’s business. He earned the TI-82 Plus calculator which was the prize he’s been looking for.

My boys enjoyed watching the old TV version of Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy very much. They were hypnotized by it, despite the BBC erudite feel of the thing.

It was a good but hard weekend. More to come too.

That’s the update.

Did I mention that I’m sore? I still am.

Cable & Wireless

I am posting this from the newly-installed wireless connection linked to the Adelphia cable modem here at the new home in Simi Valley. Worked from here all day, oddly enough, as this is a pretty nice neighborhood and there is WiFi about.

Nice to be letter-of-the-law legal though. πŸ™‚

Tonight Bruce Sterling is speaking at Art Center and I may go. But there’s so much else to do.

We’ll see…


A Favorite Star Wars Interaction

A pal-o-mine on IM was telling me about new stringent management at his work. It reminded me of a favorite Empire Strikes Back moment:

[Darth Vader has just learned that Admiral Ozzel’s big blunder, and activates a viewscreen]
Admiral Ozzel: [appearing onscreen with Captain Piett] Lord Vader, the fleet has moved out of lightspeed and we’re preparing to –
[Ozzel stops, and suddenly begins to choke, clutching at his throat]
Darth Vader: You have failed me for the last time, Admiral. Captain Piett?
Piett: Yes, my lord?
Darth Vader: Make ready to land our troops beyond their energy field, and deploy the fleet, so that nothing gets off the system.
[beside Piett, Admiral Ozzel utters one last strangled gasp, and falls over dead]
Darth Vader: You are in command now, Admiral Piett.
Piett: Thank you, Lord Vader.

I have Star Wars on the brain lately.

Music, How I Missed Thee

Oh man. It’s so nice to get my “mothership” computer — the G4 Mac, back into the mix. So, so, so nice.

Perhaps the nicest perk is that I get to play my music collection. I’ve missed listening to: They Might Be Giants (271 songs, 9:57:48 total time); Frank Zappa (955 Songs, 2:22:45:15 total time)*; and Stew/The Negro Problem (112 Songs, 8:04:29 total time).

* That’s two full days, 22 hours, 45 minutes, and 15 seconds playing time if I wanted to listen to all my Zappa at one time.

Science Fiction Authors by Faith

This page (via bb): Science Fiction/Fantasy Authors of Various Faiths is intriguing to me. Sort of… something I had never considered before, you know?

Sadly, it does not list my favorites: Neal Stephenson, Bruce Sterling, or William Gibson.

Correction from Preston Hunter:

Science Fiction Writers of Various Faiths is the SECOND page, like the overflow page.

It links to this page:

which does indeed include at least one of your favorites: William Gibson.

Thanks for the correction, Preston!

I want to ride to the ridge where the west commences.


Good weekend, tiring though.

My feet hurt. Right pinkie toe was stubbed and had a chunk rip out on the murphy bed in the apartment which we are completely out of now.

This morning I pulled the last items out of the storage where our stuff was.

This house is nice. Big. We have a lawn.

Made toast for Leah this morning. Shelled some hard boiled eggs too. We shared.

Bas (our cat) is here for a week while we make arrangements for his transport to Virginia. He loves having a house to run around in. A little too much. At 3am he was running up and down the stairs and waking up Leah. He’ll chill out.

Our landlord has Koi, so even though he’s against pets for us, he’s cutting us some slack for a week. We like him more and more with every interaction.

Kitchen half contact-papered. Still messy, but cleaner messy.

The kids have rooms! They have two homes now. For real. That’s awesome.

Leah commuted to work this morning. Got there not too slow from the email I just recieved. Leah is a wonderful partner and I hope to be as much a partner to her as she is to me. I love her so much.

Did I mention I love having my music back? Yesterday it was Mazzy Star and Beck. Nice.

8:30am. I start working at 9am.

I even did some programming over the weekend on a client of Leah’s and mine. Old school ASP/MS Access work. Dude: Server.HTMLEncode() does not work on a null returned in a RecordSet object. Check for a null using isNull() first.

We have a lot of paintings and pictures. We need to put some up, and soon. These walls are way to bare right now.

The cat is walking on me now.

Just changed the title of this entry. Web405 is talking about culture, and Cole Porter. American culture is a vast sky and has some pretty bright stars in it.

Okay, I’m gonna do some kitchen stuff before work. Later taters.


San Diego as seen via Google Maps

Fun diversion! Sightseeing San Diego with Google Maps

(Yeah, sometimes I still post to San Diego Blog).

Comics, For Sale, Again

Another aspect of having all my stuff back is that the Comics For Sale are actually available for Sale. Including some excellent copies of Frank Miller’s Sin City work, currently the vogue because of the film of the same name.

In the past 2 months I’ve had to put some people off for a while because the comics were all in storage. They’re all for sale again!

Date With The Vet

So tomorrow, Bas and I will be seeing a vet here in Simi about a “Health Certificate” as he will be egressing Simi Valley and be bound for the climes of Virginia within the week.

He’s flying off to live with my parents, who are sans-pet at the moment with the loss of Ferris, a cat documented in this charcoal drawing of mine from 1988. Ferris was a she, and was extremely long-lived.

Question With Boldness!

Letter from Thomas Jefferson to Peter Carr; Paris, Aug. 10, 1787:

Your reason is now mature enough to examine this object. In the first place divest yourself of all bias in favour of novelty & singularity of opinion. Indulge them in any other subject rather than that of religion. It is too important, & the consequences of error may be too serious. On the other hand shake off all the fears & servile prejudices under which weak minds are servilely crouched. Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call to her tribunal every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a god; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blindfolded fear. You will naturally examine first the religion of your own country. Read the bible then, as you would read Livy or Tacitus. The facts which are within the ordinary course of nature you will believe on the authority of the writer, as you do those of the same kind in Livy & Tacitus. The testimony of the writer weighs in their favor in one scale, and their not being against the laws of nature does not weigh against them. But those facts in the bible which contradict the laws of nature, must be examined with more care, and under a variety of faces. Here you must recur to the pretensions of the writer to inspiration from god. Examine upon what evidence his pretensions are founded, and whether that evidence is so strong as that its falsehood would be more improbable than a change in the laws of nature in the case he relates.

The source I cite does not capitalize “god,” but those who cite this quote often capitalize the “G,” as in “God” — despite the subject matter of the quote, whose unflinching rationalism is considering the question of even the existence of a capital-G “God.”

Thomas Jefferson remains a hero of mine.

Full Contact Sport

I’ve been doing some contact-papering in the house and I have to say, I don’t like it. I’ve been getting better at it, mind you. But generally I feel that contact paper is a pain in the neck. It sticks to itself, it gets bends and folds and little air bubbles and generally annoys.

It’s right up there with trying to draw a perfect circle or juggle — I put it in the category of “hard stuff that it is possible to do but the payoff is limited.” Well, maybe juggling is a bad example. I don’t know how to juggle so I’m using it out of ignorance.

Maybe as I do more contact papering I’ll learn to enjoy it. I can see that after contact paper, I think I’d enjoy putting up wallpaper. It seems like a more straightforward. But putting contact paper in a drawer or in a cabinet; matching the size and shape, standing on a stool and maintaining an awkward pose while installing the stuff — it’s a frustrating enterprise.

See me, Simi, Holy See

There’s a new header in town. Can’t believe it’s been 3 months since I put the last one up. It really needs a better picture of me, but this’ll do for now.

The article about the security of the election of the new Pope, by Bruce Schneier is pretty compelling stuff.

Nitey night.

Simi Valley Freecycle

Hey cool! there’s a Freecycle group for Simi Valley: Simi Valley Freecycle.

Now Playing

Frank Zappa’s The Best Band You Never Heard In Your Life.

I have some great, fun music to work to. The lyrics are secondary. This band can play.

Tellin’ you all the Zomby troof
Here I’m is, the ZOMBY WOOF

Tellin’ you all the Zomby troof
Here I’m is . . .

Reety-awrighty, he da ZOMBY WOOF
Reety-awrighty, he da ZOMBY WOOF

They said aw-reety
An’ they was aw-righty
An’ I was a Zomby for you, little lady . . .

I got a great big pointed fang
Which is my Zomby Toof
My right foot’s bigger than my other one is
Like a reg’lar Buxton Hoof
If I raid your dormitorium
Don’t try to remain aloof . . .

I might snatch you up screamin’ through the window all nekkid
An’ do it to you up on the roof, don’t mess with the

Everybody’s Working For the Weekend

Did the work to get the extension on the taxes last night. Oh joy! Paying to Federal, and getting back from the State of California.

This morning we bought a new Fridge, it’ll be delivered Monday. I’m tired today so I was a bit ornery. But I’m glad we went.

This morning we upgraded Leah’s Blog to WordPress 1.5. Looks rock solid functionality wise. Her old install of 1.2 was getting horrendous spam. The new version will give her Pages functionality so she can use it like a real CMS to manage her whole site. That’s awesome.

Hmm… what else? The house is looking great.

Okay, time to get my act in gear and really begin the day.

Sunday, Sunday

Today I made some changes and improvements over on San Diego Blog.

I need to take Ty to baseball practice this morning.

Leah and Ali are headed out to purchase a Bikini for the young lady.

Tony and I were watching Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends.

Unloaded the dishwasher this morning. Man! I love having a dishwasher built-in.

The shower in the master bedroom is not draining very well. I think maybe we need a “hair filter.” I’m not sure if the drain problem is because of us, or the previous tenants, or both.

The previous tenant had a spa in the backyard. They had gravel in part of it. Yesterday some gardeners replaced it with sod. So now the sod needs some TLC. I need to water it 2-3 times a day.

Simi Valley has a lot of static electricity. It’s a dry place.

Strangely enough, the place reminds me of Roanoke. It’s sort of a small town. If Los Angeles were not just a hop-skip-and-a-jump away it would be maybe a bit smaller than Roanoke. As it is, it’s a bedroom community for lots of L.A. and San Fernando suburbs.

You know, there are no links tagged as “simivalley on I should rectify that.

I made a pretty good dinner last night. Haogie rolls with lunchmeats and cheese. A trick I learned from my mom many years ago. Tony put together celery+peanut butter+raisins.

Okay, gotta head to practice with Ty.

for Leah, and for you, the home viewer:

I’ve been meaning to show Leah this site for a few days: It’s a deceptively simple site. It combines photographs of faces, each day, along with some text about the person or face depicted.

It sounds dull, but the expressiveness of the human face assures that it’s always compelling.

Smoky (not her real name) is a real person

Leah wraps up last night’s 7pm-10pm with a funny story about Smoky.


Did I mention we have a fridge now?

Refrigerators are a wonderful invention.

Yes, this is totally worthy of a whole post to this weblog.


Everything is different. WP 1.5 rocks. But everything will look different for a while.

Bas & Homeland Security

Tonight, right this moment in fact, Leah’s and my cat Bas is on his way to Virginia.

He was frisked, twice! by employees of the Transportation Security Agency, an arm of the Department of Homeland Security.

I hope he will have a good trip.

There’s much more to write, but I need to sleep now.

Bas Has A Home

Message from my Mom this morning:

Joe, we are here. I saw him get off the plane. They put him on the cart with all the luggage. I picked him up and he was quiet the entire ride home. He immediately hid behind the sofa downstairs. Then I started talking to him and gave him some food, which he refused and now he is investigating every nook and cranny downstairs in the utility room. He looks great! He is going to have a wonderful Life in Roanoke. LOVE YOU SO MUCH, Mom πŸ™‚



Bas, originally uploaded by ellison.

I forget if I posted this Photo Meg took back when she and Joe T took care of Bas. Either way, I don’t care. πŸ™‚

Simi Valley Blog Search


simi-valley-blog-search, originally uploaded by artlung.

If you google for “Simi Valley Blog” you get me. I’ve been here less than a month.

I, as the kids type these days, pwn!!!!!111

Bas: A User’s Manual

Slightly improved from the version I emailed my Mom, who will now be taking care of Bas:

Bas is *very friendly* – he will jump in your lap and purr if you let him. Bas loves everyone, but he will leave some hair on you in the process.

Bas is declawed in the front; he still has claws in the back. He’s about three years old.

He has no regular food time, we keep his dish semi-full. If we leave for few days he is *so* talkative when we get home, meowing and meowing. Then he munches.

Toys: His absolute favorite toy is the transparent cap from a water bottle. He *loves* batting them around, carrying them around. One pitfall of this hard-to-see toy is that they hurt when stepped on. So be alert!

Sleep: His typical pattern for a while was to sleep with Leah and I. When we are waking up, he wants to know there’s food. If he’s out of food or water, he’ll let you know. If he’s out of fresh water, he will go search for it. We try to keep him out of the toilet πŸ™‚ Generally refilling his water dish at the beginning and end of the day takes care of his hydration.

Food: Bas likes to paw at his food – he sort of pushes it out of his dish before chowing. Kind of a peciliar habit, really. He eats IAMS Original Adult 3+ — we just give him the dry stuff and he does fine. For a while we were trying the Fancy Feast ones for a taste treat sometimes. He seemed to enjoy the ones with gravy. He was not crazy about seafood. He does come running whenever have tuna though. He doesn’t *require* wet food though.

He is sometimes a moocher. Even if he doesn’t really *want* what you have, he wants to check it out. The key is to be firm with him and say “no” when you don’t want him doing this, you also may have to push him away. He will sulk a little when rebuffed like this, but he gets over it. He has eaten little bits of food from us — I think he once had some asparagus! He will mooch butter and cheese. He also likes turkey, chicken, beef. Bas is definitely a carnivore. πŸ™‚

Litter: he keeps himself pretty clean, really. He doesn’t have a favorite kitty litter that we can tell. We try and find an inexpensive one and that has worked fine so far. His boxes to this point have all been covered style, like a little doghouse. I don’t know if he would do well with an open one. I suppose he could, but we’ve not tried it. We’ve been moving him around so much he adjusted really fast to this house. I hope he can adjust as fast to your place. πŸ™‚ The key thing is just to make sure he knows where his food and water are, where the box is, and make sure he can get there. Given these, he does fine.

Snuggling: When it’s chilly he will snuggle! He loves that and purrs like mad. Like I said, very friendly. He’s I guess a medium-length haired cat, but beware, he does shed. I think the cold climate there (and the temperature the house is usually kept at) will mitigate this pretty well.

Coming when called: Even when there’s no reward or food involved, he will more or less come when called. “Bas” is short for Basilone (we say “bass -ill – OH – nee”, named after the exit off the 5 Freeway in San Onofre/SanClemente where we actually got him. We got him from a guy who was moving into an apartment which could not take pets. Basilone Road is named for John Basilone, a Medal of Honor winning Marine from WWII (we learned this after we named him, we just thought the name was nice). When we got him he had a dumb name, something like tigger or tiger or something. πŸ™‚

He is spayed, and in good health. He got current shots last week, and that reciept came with him. Given that he has the no front claws, we strongly suggest he stay an indoor cat. The vet said that as a decalwed declawed cat, he has no defenses. He has gone outside, on accident (pushing out screens, sometimes in the middle of the night!) — but these were old weak screens. He survived, and even had fun, but he did get dusty and dirty. He has not encountered many other cats, and the one time we had a “friendly” kitten stray come in (during our last party at the 21st Street house) he was MOST hostile to the mere idea of having another cat in the house. Interloper! When he sees cats outside the home he basically is fascinated and reticent. I think he would not do so hot up against a mean cat.

Night time crazies: Occasionally, Bas will get “the crazies” in the middle of the night. He runs around the house loudly. If the noise of a cat running around would bother you, or if he’s jumping on you, putting him out of the room should do it. I know you guys sleep with a fan so maybe the noise would not be a factor. But if it did — well, holing him up in a room would work. When we were staying in Burbank the solution we came up with was to put him in his carrier with the bed in it. We did this when we went to sleep. Then we put the carrier in the bathroom (the tub, actually). When we got up, we’d let him out. He was just as happy and snuggly as ever, and did not punish us for putting him in his carrier overnight. This put him on a pretty good schedule, and kept him from being too much of a late night cat.


Got a haircut today. Did some work. Made scrambled eggs for Leah and I.

I fear I don’t have the energy to really post right now.

Crashing into bed now.

Life is pretty good right now.

Mourning Root Teen

What a peculiar pun that is.

Today was the early morning for Leah and I. She starts early, and leaves early, and we have the kids in the evenings. Since I am working from home I pick them up, and by the time I’ve wrangled (which makes me sound like a shepherd) all four, she’s home and we have our evening.

My hair feels great right now! Much shorter, off my ears. I woke up with a “Faux-hawk” and felt silly about it.

I have a full beard. It’s just at the stage where Leah says it feels nice. Sadly, on my “to-do” list is shaving the darn thing off.

I was pretty pleased with the idea of having really short hair and a big bushy beard, but it’s overrated.

Besides, oatmeal gets stuck in the beard.

This morning I only made one piece of toast to go with the oatmeal and the darn thing burned! I think the toaster wants two pieces of bread to toast. Possibly the sensor/element is tuned to the side there was no bread on. Anyway, Leah digs overdone toast, so I scraped off the black with a knife and she was good to go.

I want to remember to show Dev the “Schnappi Schnappi” song this afternoon. He’s loving the German language, and that bit of culture is pretty cool.

Okay, time to work kiddies.

Take care o’ yourselves!

The Neighborhood

The Neighborhood, originally uploaded by artlung.

No photos of the new house yet. Here’s one, courtesty Google Maps. It’s annotated with some of the neighborhood spots.


“You look just like your dad!”

So Wednesday night, while Leah, Dev and Tony were at music lessons, I was here with Ali and Ty. My idea was to go explore the stuff around here that the kids had not seen. The pond, the fields, the basketball court.

The kids, eagerly accepted this idea. This could even be fun!

Al and Ty are close in age — 12 and 14. The dynamic changes without their older and younger brothers. Kind of fun. They’re both playful and teenagery in a way that T (10) and D (16) are not.

Anyway, we had a blast exploring the catch-and-release fishing pond. Not that we fished or went in, but we walked along the bank. Both of them walked over a narrow set of rocks at the edge. This is a set of rocks that I would think it would take a Cirque du Soleil acrobat to walk across. Ty was the first across and went for it before even asking me if it would be okay. Water on both sides — algae-filled cold water — I know that *I* would not go across the darn thing. Ali started to go across, then was being goaded into it by Ty, so she didn’t go for it.

Then we went further in, in search of the loudly croaking frogs we heard. The frogs, intimidated by the sound of exploring teens (technically Ty is not a teenager, but he’s close), shut up and we did not see any frogs. I kicked myself a little for not bringing a flashlight, as it was getting duskier by the second.

Ty calls out to me “hey can I go get this softball I see” — when Ty asks permission that must mean it’s hard to do or possibly dangerous. My stepfatherly reply was “If you can get it without getting wet and not hurting yourself you can do it” — so he went for it. Meanwhile Ali retreated back to the rock line. I noticed this as I was trying to get further into the thick brush. So I retreated a bit as well, and what did I see but Al going across the rocks. Seems like she needed the _lack_ of an audience to go for it. Fascinating.

I’m reminded of the scene in _The Killing Fields_ where the Malkovich character is trying to develop a fake passport photo for Dith Pran so he won’t have to go into the now Khmer Rouge-controlled Cambodia. He knows a life is at stake and he’s trying to develop this film with some jury-rigged chemicals and another guy. After two mistakes where the image blows out he asks the other guy to just get out and to let him do it himself.

With three brothers, Alejandra I think feels that way sometimes.

Anyway, eventually Ty found the old softball, which Al wanted no part of whatsoever because “who knows what was on it — so GROSS.” We continued to walk. Both of them wanting to walk on whatever high, narrow ledge they could find – walls, fences, rocks, whatever. It’s really inspiring to see them want to use these amazing tools — their physicality — that they have. Makes me think, hey, I need to get in better shape to keep up with them!

Fast forward pass the slides, swings, basketball-with-a-found-softball, watching some grown men play their softball game quite well. Al, who plays softball, remarked that these paunchy guys were pretty good. Indeed they were, 30 and 40-something guys playing slow pitch softball. I’m gonna have to look into that. Though I don’t really care for baseball or softball. I’m definitely jonesing for some racquetball.

Any readers out there in Simi Valley and wh0 play Racquetball? Give me a note.

So eventually we’re rushing to get some drinks, as we’re tired and flushed from all this activity. We went up to the local Ralph’s — maybe a mile away total. Anyway, Al gets a Diet Dr. Pepper, Ty get a Sobe, and I got a Mountain Dew. We’re waiting in line and the guy ahead of us in line — a thin 40_50-something thin fellow with a well-trimmed beard — he turns around and sees us, breathing hard (yes, all of us were breathing hard, not just me, the paunchy 30-something guy!) and says to Ty “You look just like your dad!” — and Alex, Tyler and I all look at each other and give out the biggest giggle ever. We can’t stop giggling and looking at each other and the dude says “you guys are a group, right?” — and I do eventually correct him, gently offering that “Well, I’m a stepdad” — and the guy winces minutely and says “Well that’s cool isn’t it that you look like each other yeah?” — I admit that yes it is.

The fellow in front of us tried to enlist the woman in front of _him_ in line to corroborate that Ty and I favor each other. She was a bit hesitant, and makes off with her groceries before really committing to the idea.

It was a good night on Wednesday.

Children’s Drawings of Darfur

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