Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Hanukkah in Santa Monica

from Tom Lehrer, via YouTube.

I am volunteering as a Democratic precinct captain in the adjacent precinct to ours so have been walking the precinct giving out information, identifying sympathetic voters and registering a few new voters (so far 2). Parts of the precinct are mostly rentals - one long street is all duplexes, for example and has student turnover almost annually so the names are all different from the ones on the registration list I have. It's kind of fun. Mostly people have been very nice.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Trapped in the Drive-Thru

Weird Al Yankovic with the most amusingly mundane song ever.

Owen's team got creamed in their first baseball game. He was disappointed in himself for giving up a ton of runs when he was pitching. He throws it very carefully and accurately because he doesn't want to nail the batter, but as a result the kids can see it coming and hit it. He just needs a bit more power. A lot of the other kids throw it harder but wilder and it's harder to hit. Some of them end up having the coach pitch, which is what happens when you throw four balls at his level. Owen didn't throw many balls but he didn't strike many kids out either.

Friday, September 26, 2008


Things are going all right. Owen had his first practice for fall baseball on Tuesday. His team is the Thunder, named for the Yankees Double-A affiliate, the Trenton Thunder. Their t-shirt features a thundercloud which is holding a lightning bolt as if it were a bat. Pretty cool. The first game will be Saturday afternoon.

He is continuing with guitar. This past week he had to play "Stand By Me" and "Every Breath You Take" along with a Redd Kross song he likes, "Lady in the Front Row."

Douglas is doing soccer, which is going all right when he doesn't decide to grab the ball away from everybody else. Actually, that has declined a bit since the first day, so it's ok.

Dan has been in Butte County for a site visit yesterday and today, and will be back tonight. He got to visit a juvenile hall - lucky him!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Bike vandalism

Owen and I biked to school on Friday and then he went home with a friend. We ended up forgetting about his bike and left it at school all weekend, locked to the bike rack. When we got to school this morning someone had damaged it. I took it to the bike shop this afternoon and they thought someone must have deliberately stomped on it. It's a mountain bike so the wheels and tires are very sturdy but the front wheel was so bent it wouldn't roll (I had to carry it to the car from behind the school, and then into the shop from parking downtown - kind of a heavy load), and the front brake was totally messed up. It will cost us $50 to fix. SIGH! I guess we learned a tough lesson.

Meanwhile, there may be a state budget passing tonight - Dan is expecting to be late.

Saturday, September 13, 2008


We had a fun trip to Alcatraz today. None of us had ever been before.

The ferry ride takes about 10 minutes from Pier 33 in San Francisco.

Owen and Dan did the audio (with headphones) tour of the prison. Douglas and I wandered around without guidance, but the island and the prison are not very big so it's not hard to do a self-guided tour.

Dan with the boys

There were lots of sailboats out on the bay today. It was pretty foggy when we left but by the middle of the day it had cleared up.

The prison itself. There are several other buildings on the island - the power plant, some apartments (guards and administrators and their families lived there, along with their children; we saw a short movie about Alcatraz when we arrived that showed pictures of the kids who lived on the island playing and taking a boat to school), the laundry building, and so forth. The prison really wasn't all that big (300 cells).

When we arrived off the boat, there was a tour guide giving people information about Alcatraz and about the tours. Douglas decided to show off by climbing around by his feet in front of the crowd. Luckily he didn't get stepped on.

Inside cell block A. There are 4 blocks about this size in the building. One small part is the "hole" where they punished the worst prisoners.

A view of San Francisco from outside the prison

Douglas and Dan waiting in line to get on the ferry

View of the island from the ferry

Dan enjoying the journey.

Friday, September 12, 2008

New dishwasher

The kids and I went to Woodland yesterday and ordered a new dishwasher. They will be coming to install it on Thursday. What a drag!

Meanwhile, we are all headed to Alcatraz tomorrow. That should be fun, and rather cool. None of us has ever been so we are looking forward to it. The boat leaves from Pier 33 in San Francisco, and we have tickets on the 11:00 ferry so we'll need to leave pretty early from here.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Worse and worse.

The rodent is gone, we hope and believe - at least there have been no signs of it in the past couple of days. But the appliance repair guy was here today and feels it has chewed so many things in the dishwasher that it will probably be cheaper to replace it than to fix it. Plus, it stinks because it's full of droppings.

Argh!!! There goes several hundred dollars down the drain.

In other news, school is going well. The 3rd graders in Owen's class are supposed to do 32 pages of math homework this week. So far it seems to be fine. He's not complaining about it. They are doing a lot of basics, review, money, word problems and so forth. He had quite a giggle over a word problem featuring a child named "Emil." He was reading out loud to me and read it "Email." "Email wants to buy a pencil for 15 cents and he has 50 cents." He thought that was quite hilarious.

Monday, September 08, 2008


Yesterday the kitchen flooded because the mouse/rat/whatever had chewed a hole in one of the pipes under the dishwasher. The plumber is here right now and could not get the dishwasher out so he is breaking up the edge of the floor right now in an attempt to get access to the underside of the dishwasher.

One thing leads to another. Argh!!!

Meanwhile, I had jury duty today but the judge let me off due to dealing with all of this.

Saturday, September 06, 2008


In case you haven't discovered five thirty eight, it's got good info on polling both national and state by state.

Obama appears to be up by 2 at the present moment.

Oh, and the traps remain at the ready but little Squeaky has not shown any interest in them yet.

Friday, September 05, 2008


A couple of weeks ago Violet started getting very interested in the bottom of the dishwasher. She kept poking around there sniffing at it and looking at it with an alarmed expression like there was some little critter under there. The dishwasher has a panel on the bottom which she was smelling. So we started worrying a bit but didn't do anything about it.

Today I unloaded the dishwasher and started smelling a weird smell. I called the pest control guys and one of them came out. Sure enough, we've got a mouse or rat living back there. He found the hole outside that he felt is their likely entry point and plugged it up with steel wool, so that will hopefully prevent more of them from hanging out. He said they like it behind the dishwasher because it is cozy, warm and damp.

He set a couple of traps (not sure why this did not occur to us) and will be back Monday to check on things.

Oh, the joys of home ownership.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Soccer pictures

Douglas's first day of soccer is described in another post below. Here are some pictures from it.

Douglas kneeling at left amidst the sea of other 4 year olds in orange t-shirts.

First to score a goal during red light, green light.

Owen was quite happy to run into his friend Jaden at the soccer fields.

River Cats

On Saturday night we went to see the River Cats, the AAA affiliate of the A's. They defeated the Fresno Grizzlies.

The ballpark is in West Sacramento. It's right over the river from Sacramento. The park sits in the shadow of the Tower Bridge, at left, which goes over the Sacramento river.

The ballpark's naming rights went to a local grocery chain (Raley's).

Owen and Dan are always happy to be at a ball game!

We had quite good seats right behind home plate.

Douglas got a bit bored by the end. They have a kids space though so he enjoyed pitching the ball and clocking his throwing speed (22 mph?).

First day of soccer

Hello from the goofball!

Rockin' out!

Douglas had his first day of AYSO U5 soccer yesterday. They call it a "jamboree." The "team" will not play against other teams. They just have skills practice for the first part of the time and a scrimmage for the second part of the time.

Douglas, being the character that he is, was not shy or retiring. He kept running up to the coaches and telling them the answers to their questions, jumping on other parents who had the misfortune of sitting down, and kicking the ball all over the place. When they did a 3-on-3 scrimmage he scored two of the three goals that were scored. The third was scored by another child on his team who shot it into the wrong goal.