hkellick: The Oklahoma City Skyline (OKC)
The heat here has been so freaking awful. We've been under head advisory all weekend, extending through today, though the week doesn't look any better. High in the 100s all week.

We've tried to play it smart, and safe. We've taken to doing nearly everything that requires heat off until the morning hours: Cooking, Running the Dryer, etc. but sleeping is.. difficult. It is literally too warm to sleep. Even with the A/C (not that the A/C works great, stupid apartment), three box fans and all the ceiling fans on...

Realistically, I know that the ceilings are just moving the hot air around the small apartment and the A/C can't keep up...but moving air is still better than stagnant air.

Still.. I'm exhausted. I went to bed at a reasonable time, but I can't stay asleep because I wake up, sweating, overwarm and uncomfortable...

I'm glad I have a job. But I really really really hate living in OKC, where this is par for the course...
hkellick: Earth Shattering (Earth Shattering)
 So, this past weekend, I ended up taking a 3 Day Weekend. I'd had to work some mad hours the week of July 4th and while I didn't actually work the 4th itself, since I'd worked 40 hours that week, I was allowed to postpone my holiday.

And while part of me feels I cheated the system, I did. And then took it last Friday, giving myself a three day weekend.

It was.. exactly what I needed.

On Friday, we swam. Our little waterbaby only had his third "swimming lesson" but already he's floating on his back (with a little help from momma) and kicking and blowing bubbles. He's really taken to the water. We'll have to get him to a splash pad soon and see what he thinks of that.

On Saturday, we went back to the Norman Library to drop off books and get new ones. And, oh, there's a cookbook sale going on. K and I left with 10 library books (I found 4 books, none of which I could put down.. :D ) and 3 cookbooks. 

And we saw Transformers 3 on Netflix, which was absolutely awful.

We also ended up buying Civ V: Gods and Kings on Saturday. More on that in another post, I'm sure. :D Oh, and a friend bought two of "Frozen Synapse" on Steam and gave me a copy. So I got two new games for $27. Not bad at all. :D Wow, it just hit me.. on Saturday, I got three cookbooks and two video games for the price of a dinner out with the family...

Sunday, we hung out at home. Played Civ V. Got stuff done. Mostly, we chilled.

It was just nice to spend the time with my family without feeling wrung out and exhausted.

I don't work a 40 hour job. 45-50 hours per week is kinda typical. I get there early and leave late. And while I spend a little bit of time with my son and wife each day, it isn't much. (And sometimes that's just as well, because sometimes my little boy becomes a possessed hellion) and depending on how exhausting the day/week was, I'm already mentally checked out. Weekends go by quickly as I catch up on sleep and chill out time.

I need to plan to take some vacation time. Even if it's just a staycation. I have the time, god knows. And August is pretty clear, as far as my schedule goes. 

I also need to get back to Buffalo. I feel out of touch with the rest of my family. I've usually been back to Buffalo by now, but with us down here, I haven't been. 

In any case, it was a lovely three day weekend. And I'm sure R and K would agree.  :D
hkellick: (Geeks In Love)

This week at work has been crazy. We finally are finishing the project of doom, but it's been crazy trying to complete it and Monday and Tuesdayjust left me exhausted and frustrated. My wonderful and awesome wife, who knows me, agreed that I could get Lego Batman 2. And so I did. :D

So far, I would honestly say I like this Lego Batman a great deal better than the last. The first Lego Batman was special. Unlike all the otherBatmans, it wasn't constrained by the plot of a specific movie or episode. Instead, it was a love letter to the Batman animated series (which Iwatched most of and loved. and PS Netflix, GET THIS AND I WILL REWATCH IT) 

But, I also kinda felt like the last Lego Batman had the wrong pace. Instead, at the end of each level, you ended up in a fight with one of the more(or less) popular Batman Villains. And the end of each.. set of levels, you had the BIG fight with two of the most popular Batman Villains. But...even for Batman, it felt rushed. If this were an episode, it would be bland. Everyone escaped ONCE AGAIN from Arkham and Batman has to roundthem up and put them all back behind Bars. There was no detecting work, no trying to figure out WHAT the Joker or the Riddler or the Penguinwas up to, just stumbling upon them and capturing them.

Lego Batman 2 has a PLOT. And what with the Lego Figures now talking, it's easy to follow. Oh, sure, in point of fact, everyone DOES escapefrom Arkham ONCE AGAIN (Seriously, is it me or is it too easy to escape from Arkham Asylum) and Batman DOES have to go and round them upand put them behind bars again (more on that later), but for the actual Missions, you'll follow Batman and Robin.. and a few other Heroes youlikely recognize as Lex Luthor and the Joker work together to.. well, I'm not gonna say. :) (Partly because I just don't know yet, though TakingOver The World does seem a logical guess.) 

In recent versions of the Lego Games, you've been able to explore a saveable central hub. For example, in Lego Harry Potter, you've exploredHogwarts as you went, unlocking areas as you go and as you learn new spells. They went with that idea here again, in a HUGE explorableArkham Area. And I mean HUGE. 

I joke, sometimes, that my favorite part of Grand Theft Auto 3 was stealing the cars and flying around the streets. And you can do this here too.Grab the Batmobile and go driving all around Arkham. There's much to see and lots of hidden secrets to explore. There's citizens to save, goldand red bricks to find and bad guys to put back in jail. Remember how I mentioned that the bad guys escaped Arkham Asylum? Once you get tothat point in the story, you'll find them all over the explorable Arkham. And WHEN you defeat them in battle, you can buy that character for freeplay. 

So while the story's smaller than it ever has been before, there's so much more content in Arkham itself. It's probably about equal to the contentin Lego Harry Potter or some such.

By the way, back there when I said you could drive around Arkham.. you can do more, because there's one other part I hitned at. Where in theoriginal Lego Batman, the vast majority of the unlockables were Batman and Batman Villains only, they've expanded the cast for this one. Thistime around Batman has the whole Justice League (without the stupid Wonder Twins, THANK GOD!) on his side. In short order, you'll unlockSuperman. Once you've done that, you don't want to just drive around Arkham. You want to FLY around Arkham with the John Williams themeblaring at you as you go. 

Get further in the story, and you may prefer zooming along Arkham as the Flash or flying along as the Green Lantern, or just playing as WonderWoman with her Magic Lasso. I'll admit, I haven't seen the Green Lantern yet, but I'm prepared to be disappointed. I'm a huge Green Lantern fanand I suspect all the ring will do is allow him to beat you with various green objects. Pity. 

I'm only a little bit way in, but this is a GREAT Lego Game. I TOTALLY want to go zooming around Arkham as Superman (humming along to John Williams, because that's just how I roll, yo.)

And if they go this approach with Lego LotR, that will be a great (better?) Lego Game as well! :D

Dammit, now I wanna go home and play Lego Batman 2 and I can't., I have to work. :/

hkellick: Pittsburgh, City of Bridges (Default)
Bill Clinton, I think it was, once announced that his presidency would be the era of big government is over. He was wrong, of course. But it's a line that gets thrown out a great deal.

One could easily take the failed recall vote in Wisconsin as a sign that the Union Man just doesn't have the power he used to have. And I do think that's a good take home message, though I do feel the failed recall vote happened for more reasons than just that.

But when you look at the fiscal cliff we're driving off of, there is one universal truth that needs to be mentioned. We are spending far more money than we have. We all know what the politicians think about this, which is garbage. The GOP want to cut spending but not raise taxes. They want Austerity, but Austerity is destroying the European Economy and it's a reasonable argument that it could have the same effect here. The Democrats want to keep spending, but increase taxes on the very rich. This is utter nonsense as well, quite honestly.

What's missing from the debate is any semblance of subtlety, any hint that there are other options.

Which brings us to the unions, specifically the unions for the public service jobs: The Teachers Union, the FIremen Union, the Policemen Union, etc.

Let's be honest. Unions theoretically work to make things better for the people they represent, but Unions are fallible and over the years, Unions have made mistakes and decisions that added to the problems.

You could argue, as Scott Walker argued, that that's true in Wisconsin, that the civil servant unions have been part of the problem. I think he's right, to some extent. When things were good, I don't think there's any argument that we should be putting so many dollars into such and such a union's retirement fund, or that such and such a public sector jib needs this number of days off. But when things are bad, and they are, exactly what have the Unions done to say "We recognize that things are tough. Here, let's help you out."

Of course, the people that the unions represent are real people with real needs, financial and otherwise, but when things get bad we ALL need to shoulder the load, no matter who hires you. For most of us, when things get bad, we just consider ourselves lucky enough to keep our jobs, forget get additional leveraging power.

And that's really what was at the heart of Scott Walker's laws. The Unions still exist, but they're lives are just much closer to the rest of us. I read somewhere that in 2012, only 11% of workers in the United State belong to a union. The other 89% of us don't. When things get tough and we don't get the raise we hoped for, we don't strike. We don't walk out. We just thank gods we still have a job to call our own.

The union has been in decline for a long time. Maybe that's a bad thing. I'm sure some will say it is. But,..

When Walker instituted his rules, the Unions warned of of things going off track in Wisconsin, that taxes would need to be raised, etc. But that didn't happen, 16 months later. Walker found a way to tighten the budget and I guarantee you, others will follow.

And so I say, with no doubt I'm wrong, the End of the Era of the Big Union is over. Kaput. Gone.

hkellick: (Fuck you)
 Two Nights ago, I was playing Diablo 3. I had to stop because it started hailing and our power flickered. I logged off in a hurry and shut my computerdown, and the computer stayed off due to the violent thunderstorm we HAD Tuesday Night and were supposed to have last night.

This morning, three hours ago, after losing another bout of insomnia I logged on and was.. confused. My character was back in Act I and he hadnothing. No weapons. No armor. Nothing. And there was nothing in the stash.

I checked. Same with K's character. But one of my characters who I started to play and abandoned had some of his stuff. Was there a glitch? Whatdo I do?

So I asked the public channel and got clue by foured. I'd been hacked. FUCK!

I'm not an idiot. I don't generally fall for phishing scams. I don't open attachments, as a whole, i'm not expecting. I try to play on the internet safely.How they got my password, I'll never know. K thinks it may have been weak, and she may be right. 

I'm really really annoyed. K and I worked hard for that stuff. That stuff represents two weeks of hard play by K and I and someone took it all. And for what? Well, for some real money, probably, once the auction house is up and running again.

I'm trying to relax. I know it could be a lot worse. I mean, it's just a game. Of all the things they COULD have hacked, a video game is hardly the worst thing. It wasn't my bank account or my financial stuff or my ID. it was a video game.

And it looks like Blizzard keeps backups, so I'll be able to get all my stuff back. 

But it boggles the mind why someone felt the NEED to steal my virtual stuff. I mean... seriously, it's virtual stuff. It's worth maybe a few real dollars. What type of person feels the need to steal this stuff?

it does make me question Blizzard's judgment, allowing people to sell virtual stuff for real money on the auction house. Someone somewhere should have realized, I think, that this would be impetus enough for hackers to keep hacking. Because now it's worth real money on a legitimate Blizzard Website.

So whoever you are, thanks, i guess, for not locking me out of the account and I hope that it was worth it for you, stealing our hard-earned stuff. 

hkellick: Skyrim! (Video Games)
I want to write a post about actual gameplay/review of Diablo 3. But that will likely be another post.

For this post, I want to write about why video game companies suck and why users suck even more. As any good gamer will know, playing a video game on release day is about as risky as using the newest version of Windows the moment it comes out. There's bugs, there's issues, and the issues WILL affect how your video game performs.

For Diablo 3, as far as I can tell, it was the servers. Blizzard made the decision (largely panned, and I agree this is a bad decision) that Diablo 3 must be online and connected to AT ALL TIMES. Even the single player mode. That's so, at a drop at a hat, I guess, you can go "Say, this is an interesting piece of equipment I have! I'm gonna auction it!"

So Blizzard made the decision Diablo 3 had to be online at all times. Can you guess where this is going? That's right. Massive server issues on release day.

I stayed home yesterday, in part to catch up on sleep and family time, but in part to play a game I was extremely interested. So imagine my annoyance when the server was down for "Emergency Maintenance" for *5 HOURS* (and then, I guess, crashed again sometime last night while I slept.)

You would think a company like Blizzard, with experience with World of Warcraft, and Starcraft 2, might have expected high volumes, but.. well, I don't know what they expected, but they look like morons.

Cue the forums. I hop onto the forums to figure out what this error "317002" is. I was annoyed, but, as I said, this is not my first rodeo and my experience tells me most video game companies are never really READY for release. I remember the same server issues the day I got Spore.

But, oh gods, the NERDRAGE!! I was annoyed, but the crazy in that room was enough to scare me a little.

Blizzard owes us money for it's outage.

Blizzard owes you nothing. Not a working game. Not communication. Nothing. 

Blizzard, if you don't get the servers up soon, I'm gonna cut myself!

Ye Gods. It's a video game. I want to play it too, but COME ON!

So here's my thoughts. If I'm shelling $50 or $60 for a game, I expect it to work. I expect the bugs to not be game-killing and I expect that if you make a decision that the game HAS To be online, you make damn sure the servers can handle the traffic. I expect you to communicate effectively when issues happen, about when the server will be up or when the game will be patched. 

These are my expectations. This is what *I* think my money is supposed to buy me. 

For the record, K and I DID get on in between server outages and we're both happy. So my next post will likely be about the game itself, and not just my annoyance at Blizzard and how scared I was at some of the crazy in the forum.

hkellick: Skyrim! (Video Games)
So, some time ago, I got conned into a Gamestop points card. I never use the card, as I very rarely buy at Gamestop nowadays (Mostly I use Steam.) but I DO like the magazine, which gives previews and reviews of up and coming games for all game systems.

I'm reading through the magazine last week and I see a preview for an up and coming expansion to Civ V. Civ V came out.. two years ago? And I admit to being bitterly disappointed that the only thing that had come out since was some DLC (Downloadable Content.)

The expansion looks interesting. I LOVE Civ V and think they did a really good job on it, but I, like many, mourned losing Religion. And Spies. Corporations, I was glad to lose. They were annoying. But Religion! What is Civ without Religion! And Spies.. the other Civilizations overused/misused Spies in Civ IV, but there's something to be said about having a spy creeping around a civilization you're interested in (to size up or to go to war with) and something more to be said about them putting a monkey wrench in the other civ's works. ;D

Getting excited about the new expansion made me realize it'd been a LONG time since K and I played Civ. We definitely played it a bit when it first came out, but not really since.

I suggested it. K, who is a certified CivAddict, agreed. And so we started.

I had INTENDED to be Russia/Catherine the Great, but when I picked her, K asked to be her, so I agreed and took England/Elizabeth, since I'd never been England but the idea appealed a bit. I wanted to do something else besides Rome, even though Rome kicks ass.

K and I typically play as part of the same team. This is to avoid both our tendencies to be overcompetitive. Also, it's just much more fun to destroy France and the Aztecs than it is each other.
And thank goodness, too, because I got the raw deal this game. When we play as part of the same team, we both end up on different continents. That might be fine, except that England, amusing, is stuck on a small continent with little room, the Aztecs to the north and no Horses or Iron. That is.. a very bad way to start a civilization. If I'd been playing on my own, the Aztecs probably would have run me down by now. As it is, I'm surviving by occasionally begging my wife to send me horses and iron.

Under other circumstances, I'd have restarted the game by now, but I'm trying to make the best of it and have fun. Wish me luck. I hate losing and I hate being at a major disadvantage the way I am in this game.
hkellick: Pittsburgh, City of Bridges (Default)
Twas a good weekend. What with K working the $[Oil and Gas Company] job Friday night and Saturday (thus, me hanging out with boy Saturday) and just being exhausted after a VERY long month of March, I took the weekend off.

Saturday with the boy was fine. We played with his train set (He got a wooden train set for Christmas and dad got him add on parts. K and I are having as much fun building the tracks, I think, as R is having playing with the trains on them.) We went to unpluggits. It was good daddy/boy time. And K came home, exhausted and achy and took a long, long nap.

Sunday, we did some errands, a little cooking, and I played my new game: Kingdom of Amalur - Reckoning.

When we got our tax rebate back, the bulk majority of it went to debt, but a little went to fun money. I spent my fun money on the game, the first DLC (Legend of Dead Kel) and the strat guide.

I'd heard good things about the game and I have good things to report. The game is some cross between Dragon Age, Diablo and Skyrim. I don't have time to do the part where I explain how the game works, and such. Maybe later. I'll say this..

The visuals are.. cartoon-realistic. Not uberrealistic, but pretty nonetheless. Special attention has been drawn to making your fighting visuals pretty. You'll ooo and aaah as your Chakrams go flying all over the place destroying baddies left and right, you'll smirk as you sneak up behind that guard and assassinate him, as he crumples to the ground and you cover his mouth to keep his death screams quiet, you'll be amazed as your longsword cuts hither and dither destroying all in front of you.

The background music is decent. And the voice acting is superior. I don't know if everyone involved in the project lent their voice, but I don't think I've CLEARLY heard the same voice over and over again, and that's special. Many of the natives have plenty to say, when prompted, and none complains about an arrow to the knee in passing.

The actual gameplay.. I'm playing on normal and I'd say it's sufficiently challenging. The normal "yellow" baddies are relatively easy, unless I'm getting swarmed, and the bosses are definitely a fight.

I haven't gotten far enough along to really comment on the story. But there is a metric ton of quests: the main quest, quests for each of five guilds you can join (and no issue, so far, with joining all of them.) and some sort of overarching quests for each of the main area: a town under attack by a plague brought on by boggarts, a town at the mercy of an evil witch and her trained army of spiders (No, I am not kidding. And, yes, the witch is named "The Widow". And yes, she is a Dark Elf.) and, in the last mini area I was in, a lovelost fisherman taunted by a "water nymph")

The enemies are varied. Most of them are fae. What strikes me is they make a point of differentiating the summer court and the winter court, so why am I fighting brownies, pixies and boggarts which are typically considered summer court?

All in all, I like this game and I'd recommend it.

No Subject

Feb. 13th, 2012 04:33 pm
hkellick: Earth Shattering (Earth Shattering)
Hi, my name is Howard and I have sleep problems. I don't have a reason for it, only the acknowledgement that my sleep schedule goes off-kilter ever once in a while.

Case in point, after about a week of going to bed early'ish (9 or so) and wake up early, last night, I feel like I never slept at all. Like I never needed to. So, at 12, despite having only gone to bed two hours ago, I was up, for nearly two hours. I tossed, I turned, finally I got up and poked online until I was feeling tired again.

It usually autocorrects, but I think I sometimes half-suspect that my mind is so well-trained to being on eastern time, that it absolutely refuses to get onto Central Time, so I end up awake at too freakin' early AM.

There isn't really a point to this post, so much as complaining slightly because I've been tired and off all day. Hopefully I sleep tonight, instead of being up at way too freakin' early again.
hkellick: Pittsburgh, City of Bridges (Default)
So.. two things.

1) Streaming the superbowl was a total disaster. If I needed to watch the game, without the.. superbowl experience, it was OK, I guess, and the game WAS decent, but..

A) They played the same FIVE ads over and over and over. If I had ANY interest in Call of Duty, it's been sapped from me after seeing that ad at least 50 times. And don't get me started on Samsung or GE.

B) They didn't play the half-time show. K and I had to find it after we watched the commercials. It wasn't much to see, mind you, but it's part of the experience and I was pissed that didn't stream it.

C) So.. there WAS a way to see the superbowl ads, after it aired, but NOT while they played those same five ads, over and over. That is.. I was locked into seeing the streaming ads, but if I wanted to miss the game for a minute, I could see the superbowl ads.

So... yeah. Total disaster. Never doing that again.

Though, having seen the superbowl ads now, I thought some of them were cute but most of them weren't great this year. My favorite was the Met Life ad, though, with all the WB and Hanna Barbera cartoons. That was cute. :) I wonder why Disney didn't say yes to that...

I didn't care for the "Ferris Bueller's Day Off Remake". It was... more strange than amusing.

2) Totally new topic.

The time came this weekend to face the music. Yes, I'm working overtime. Yes, it will help once I finally get that money. But.. chances are, we're still drowning in debt. So.. K is officially looking for a job again. More on this to come...
hkellick: I was scrap metal, you were a flaming wreck. (Flaming Wreck)
So Joe Paterno's dead. Various people on my Facebook list are mourning him, sharing picture of Joe in heaven.


I don't "get" college sports. Never have. Truthfully, though, I don't get much in the way of "professional" sports either. Especially when the supermillionaire players and the supermillionaire owners start arguing again. Then I really don't get it.

But that's neither here nor there. I never followed the Nittany Lions and I never will.

But what I DID follow was last year's child abuse scandal in U Penn. And this is what I got... Joe Paterno stood back and let other parent's little boys get sexually harassed by a monster. And, in my eyes, that kind of makes him a bit of a monster too. To sit back and allow it and ignore it... perhaps he talked to the administration, but the child abuser stayed on and Joe Paterno stayed quiet.

I'm sorry if you're a U Penn fan. I'm sorry if you WANT to remember the best of this guy. He may have been a decent coach, but at the end, he didn't have the decency to protect little boys from a monster. And I just choose not to believe that there really isn't a place in heaven for those that can ignore that kind of violence.
hkellick: Skyrim! (Video Games)
This thought has been rattling around my head for.. a while, but I think more so lately because of Dungeon Siege 3 and Sims: Generations.

Cut because I know most people don't care )

Call Back

Jun. 4th, 2011 04:55 am
hkellick: (Engineer)
So I LITERALLY just backposted an entry from a couple days ago about, among other things, a job interview with a company in NC. Since I think/hope this is important enough.

Just responding with more here...


Well, I got a call back on the NC job. They want me for a second interview with even more higher-ups in RALEIGH. The interview is scheduled for Thursday at 2:00 PM. Which, yes, means Robert will be up again.

I think I'm half-expecting I'll be called to North Carolina for a REAL interview soon.

It's gratifying to be a serious candidate. It gives me hope. And while I have decidedly mixed feelings about leaving DC, I am absolutely bouncing in my seat at the prospect of no longer being unemployed.

I hopehopehope this pans out.

... if only I knew anyone in the Charlotte, NC area.

Six Months

Jun. 1st, 2011 09:08 pm
hkellick: (Engineer)
Well.. got back from Buffalo a couple days back. Buffalo was.. not what I hoped.

Mad at youngest brother, who decided he had better things, like going to a friends' BBQ, than to see us or Robert. Frustrated with dad too, because he either had no idea what the plan was or totally forgot it due to ChemoBrain. I can't blame dad for ChemoBrain and at least he's done with the Chemo in six weeks, but still frustrating.

Robert had a tough weekend too. We were supposed to wean him down to a single 1 mL of Prevacid per day and he woke up two nights in a row crying. We're pretty sure, since we checked all other issues, it was Acid Reflux.

We were supposed to pick up furniture and bring it home, but that got moved back, which worked out just as well given how badly we slept this weekend with Robert keeping us awake. K's parents are supposed to be driving it down here in a couple weeks. But that may change. More on that to come.

Got home late Monday, in the middle of a heat wave. At the end of May. This summer's gonna suck. :/

Spent yesterday just.. relaxing. Trying to get over the weekend. Oh, and we signed up for Netflix for Wii, which I'm really having alot of fun with. Started watching the Hitchhiker's Guide Mini Series, Dilbert, the Animated Series, Heroes and K and I started Dr. Who. Lots of stuff to keep me amused for a while.

Then I got a call late yesterday, about 4:00, setting up a phone interview for today with D***. This job is in Charlotte, North Carolina, which I have decidedly mixed feelings about moving to, mostly because I know no one there and I'd miss my friends in Baltimore and DC if I moved.

Phone interview was today. I think it went well. I think I am a serious contender for this position. Last week, they told me I was one of two people they were interviewing. I've already gotten contact information from the company and they're deciding what the next step is, either another phone interview with people I'd be working with in Raleigh, or an actual interview. Color me nervous.

The timing is good, because today.. I've been out of work for six months, a fact I am not happy about. Though I am significantly happier than I would be if the latest news was the I-don't-know-what-happened in PA.

And I've got plans with Chu this weekend. R and I. K *WAS* considering coming, and may still show up, but she was offered a chance to work overtime Saturday and she's taking it.


May. 25th, 2011 07:28 am
hkellick: (Political)
Interesting enough, when I lived in Buffalo, this WAS my district. NY-26 is a light red congressional district which includes some of the richer, northern suburbs of Buffalo (such as Amherst, where I'm from) as well as a large area mostly east of Buffalo where there's not much but Farmland and Batavia (aka Farmland).

So, I'll admit that NY-26 was of special interest to me, especially given the realization by the politicos that the race was quickly becoming a referendum on what Paul Ryan's plan MIGHT mean for things like Medicare, which has always been an issue Republicans were going to have to deal with.

By all accounts, Corwin was not a good candidate. She did not run a good campaign and did not, for example, even address the fears that the Ryan plan would end Medicare until it was far, far too late.

Democrats want you to believe that this is another Scott Brown moment, a sign of things to come. That any Republican who sides with the Ryan plan in a not deep-red congressional district COULD end out on their tush. And they may be right.

Republicans want you to think that the issue was not the Ryan plan, but that the Democrat turned Tea Party candidate, Jack Davis, split the vote. With a whole 9% vote.

They also want you to believe the 2012 election will be a referendum on Obama and Obama only, though I don't think they're right. Since by all accounts, all polls currently show that while the public may not love Obama, they care less for the Republicans in office. (Then again, Congress has had low poll numbers forever and a day. Not that they care.)

I think, however you want to spin it yourself, whether you're a democrat or republican or an independent, this election was important and a sign of some of the issues that candidates will need to contend with in 2012.

But then I also know that this seat has been held by a Republican since the 1960s and the fact that they lost it now.. is a bad, bad sign for them.
hkellick: Dad and Boy reading a Hannukah book together! (Robert)
So as of yesterday, he's totally on milk. We've stopped the use of the ultra-expensive formula. Which is good news altogether. A week of his milk, even if we were to go fancy and organic would cost something like $20 a month, maybe $30. Not the $300 we've been paying for his formula.

And that's good news, for him, for our budget, just altogether good.

The next thing on the list is to wean Robert off the Prevacid. K is REALLY nervous about this. I'm less so, but still nervous. We both fear acid rebound, that with giving him less of the acid reducer, his body will actually OVERPRODUCE acid, hence he'll be up all night screaming.

So long as the Dr. has us wean him off it slowly, slower than he weaned off the formula, probably, we're comfortable with the idea. And it WILL Be.. freeing to have him off the Prevacid. It'll give us even more freedom to go where we want when we want and feed him when he/we want without worrying about it.

So.. all good news for small boys.
hkellick: (Political)
Been thinking alot about my frustration with Obama and my issues with the fact that I strongly suspect he'll be the lesser of two evils come 2012.

I keep thinking back to the 2008 election. I've been a registered democrat since 1993. I've voted for Clinton, though I never fell in love with him. Gore, despite the fact that I thought the guy had less personality than a phone book, and Kerry, despite the fact that it frustrated me to no end that Kerry wouldn't at least call out the people throwing mud in his face for the pure LIES.

Then came this guy who not only spoke well, but assured us all that he could find common ground with the other side and work together with them to better America. In short, a president who might do some GOOD for this nation and might right some of the grievous wrongs done by his predecessor. He'd close down Guantanamo bay, end the war on terror and at least be able to have a CONVERSATION with the republicans on how we can actually BETTER this country.

Cut here before the post gets too long )
hkellick: Dad and Boy reading a Hannukah book together! (Robert)
So... two weeks ago, we went to the GI who gave us a plan. By last week, we were supposed to start a milk challenge for small boy.
And we would have, had it not been for a tummy bug that hit Monday and kept his appetite depressed throughout the whole work week. We decided that we would wait on the challenge until he felt better.

By Saturday, his appetite had returned.. and then some! He SUDDENLY has the sign down for more food. He may think it's the sign for food, since we've only ever used it with food, but.. anyways, he's constantly demanding more! MORE MORE MORE!

By Saturday night, we agreed we were OK with starting the milk challenge. So it started Sunday.

Sunday his appetite is even stronger. I wonder if he's going through a growth spurt. He's eating (for him) huge solid food meals and still drinking a fair amount of formula too.

Anyways, he got his milk at 9:00 and, while it hasn't been 24 hours yet, if he had any sort of intolerance to milk, it would apparently have shown up sooner rather than later, so..

.. this is exciting! It really is! Him passing milk is a HUGE step towards us being able to maybe just feed him from our plate when we go out or have lunch or whatever (his getting more than two tiny teeth would help too.)

So.. I am excited! And happy that he's tolerating it well enough so far!
hkellick: Fatherhood (Fatherhood)
I won't claim to be an authority on fatherhood. Being a stay-at-home dad has certainly given me a certain set of experiences and a certain viewpoint. Or maybe it's just reinforced a certain viewpoint. But once in a while I have to sit there, smack my forehead and wonder what the hell these people were thinking.

So R and I are at the park today. It's gorgeous out and this particularly park is pretty busy. Lots of parents with their kids. Down in the ball field, a grandpa is playing tee ball with a 4 year old and a bunch of kids are running around having a fun time around the playgrounds. Except for R. He's playing in the dirt, ignoring the ball I brought for him, thinking he'd enjoy playing with it.

And as R is playing in the dirt, I hear a mom say, from the bench "Get off the Swing and Go Play!"


What is wrong with playing on the swings?
I suspect I know. Mom was hoping kid would burn off some energy. Because as we all know, kids are a fount of energy. But that said.. why is the swing less acceptable than playing?

I suspect mom has a problem. It's a common parent disease called Mywayitis. It's a mental disease that makes otherwise good parents believe that there is only one GOOD way to do things.

Come to that.. it isn't just a parent problem.

There are certain actions that are negative, period. Hitting your peers will not help you make friends and driving on the wrong side of the road is a good way to get into an accident. For most activities, though, the boundaries of acceptable are decidedly murky. There's nothing inherently WRONG with reading the last page of the book before the first one if you don't care if the story is spoiled. And while it may not be the most efficient way there, if you want to drive to work without taking a single left turn, you can do so.

And yet the number of people who think there's only one correct or acceptable way to do a task is saddening. And when you broadcast that kind of attitude to a child, you're just teaching them to be judgmental and critical, not things I'd like to teach my son.

It's not that I can't understand the desire to have your kid burn off some energy, but the sentiment behind the statement.. and the criticism inherent in it.. that swinging is not acceptable really bothers me.

So dear mom on the bench, may I offer some humble advice?
Firstly, loosen up. A kid is gonna be a kid. You can't force a kid to do the things you want. You can entice, persuade, teach the value of, or just model the things you want, but let a kid be a kid. And that's it. At the end of the day, if the kid wants to be silly, wants to play in the dirt when you wanted him to play with the ball, paints the puppy purple instead of brown.. is that really so bad you need to criticize it?
Secondly, if you want the kid to do something, try another tact. Try redirecting him to that group playing around the playground or better yet, bring your own group so he can play with people he know. Or play with him yourself.
And finally, remember, always, that a child is always learning from you. Not just what you WANT him to learn, but other things such as how you treat your family, how you treat the world, how you act when you're in a group and when you're home alone. Wouldn't you rather most of what he learn be positive?

Holy Crap!

Apr. 18th, 2011 10:30 am
hkellick: (Engineer)
Holy Crap Holy Crap Holy Crap and did I say Holy Crap?

So... what I THOUGHT was going to happen was that I was going to have a phone SCREENING at 9:30. That they'd go over the job, go over my resume, etc. Relatively low pressure. I reviewed the specific responsibilities of the job I applied for, looked at my resume and was as ready as I was going to be.

Imagine my surprise, then, when the interviewers told me that the job was NOT what I thought it was, but was a Wastewater Treatment job at a paper mill (I did my review and knew that the company was a paper mill in a paper mill town.)

The rest of the interview just went at warp speed from there, and it WAS an interview, a tough one.

We went over my education, we went over my experience. I told them about the classes I tool in college and my stint as a research assistant helping a fellow student testing out using tires as a filtration medium. We talked about my experience working the FEMA job and my experience as a team lead.

Then we got into the technical questions and I was quizzed. The manager even said.. well, we're a paper mill, what sorts of materials do you think we check the effluent for?

Um.. excuse me as a cheat, I say, as I rush to pull out my Civil PE Review book and look, naming.. oxygen, nitrates and heavy metals, maybe? And apparently that isn't cheating, apparently that's knowing where to get the information you need and I think I scored points with that.

And he goes again.. well, we watch out solids and air. What do you think we watch for? Well.. what do you DO with your solids and air.. do you burn your solids, do you landfill them? Oh, we dry them and reburn them to fuel our plant. Well, says I, I think that's OK.. oh! That's why you have to watch your air, you need to make sure that you filter out anything nasty before it escapes.

I still wish I'd know what I was being interviewed for, though. I'd have reviewed those chapters this weekend and been more prepared, but I think I was able to at least sound like I DO know what I'm talking about.


All in all, I think I did well. I think I'd be surprised and disappointed if they don't call me in for an interview.

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