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The Time Sink

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Welcome to what Janeen and I sometimes call "The Week from Hell". Why? Well, we try to run a Just In Time supply chain operation, as JIT makes for the best use of the company's money and our limited warehouse space. The only thing wrong with that system is the transportation link in the supply chain. What with all the additional demands placed on shippers and the typically adverse weather conditions at this time of the year, our usual plan of attack gets thrown out the window right after Thanksgiving.

So, we beef up our stock and try to anticipate trends. ...and still get caught short by some widget or gizmog or tool or supply item that becomes the "Flavor of the Month" and spikes to three times its normal usage rate. ...or some goodie that some other department is charged with maintaining inventory on. ...and just blew it.

...and right now, there are a very limited number of shippers we trust to get our goods to us for the next two weeks! Demonstrated winners: the much-maligned USPS (they will get it though if it has special handling) and Airborne Express (they'll get it through by dog sled if that's what it takes...) The others? Well, I don't slam places very much. After all, you're pretty familiar with who else is out there.

...and I know who declares holidays without notifying customers.

This week may be a little short on posts here at this site; Mrs. Claus would like some more Christmas pictures up over on her site. So, I'll be working on that. Not to worry; there will be stuff like Treadmill Tales up over on the story site.

Good morning? That question mark comes from the appointment we have later this morning with the cardiologist... I'll let you know what he says. ...if it's fit for public consumption.
Hey guys and gals; please take a moment (or two or three) and say some prayers or send some spare karma Kaycee's way... It appears that she's in for another fight (and at least part of it without Mom). It's tough enough spending Christmas in the hospital; but with visitors cut back, she's going to have to get by on email, prayers and good wishes. Big secret: her emails are structured totally unlike her posts! ...a very free spirit! So let's keep that spirit soaring as best we can. 'K? Thanks.
...and hey, Hey, HEY! I managed some computer work last night! Whoo hoo! What a change. Nah, nothing really big; just a little work on the kid's new machine and playing around with a hardware firewall...

I'll fill you in on that stuff later; right now I need to work up another visual masterpiece for Mrs. Claus.

...and a WebCard for y'all.


I'm with Brian... All in all, a time for some introspection. I had a chance over the weekend to put myself in a 'forced timeout', and it worked out rather well. Enough so that I did a little more of that yesterday: I stayed up late Monday doing site drafts for the church gig (I'll link it in a few weeks when there's content up) and slept in before the appointment with the cardiologist (oh yeah, nothing much; just the usual warnings). Then I took the rest of the day off to work on more of nothing much...

I fed the outside cat; watered the sunflowers; emailed a bit; upgraded some software (thank you CoffeeCup for the bonus); fought a battle with the hardware router (tie); fought a battle with their tech support (I severely dislike it when I have already Read The Fine Manual (even though it's not all that fine; and I'm ahead of the level two)); declared them a loss (my local vendor was some help though); worked a little at getting the feel of the updated software; and generally didn't try to over do it...

Wait! I did do one thing for you! Introducing a new definition of dementia, and with apologies to graphic artists everywhere, I give you your Time Sink Christmas Card...

Not much else to say, is there?


Happy Solstice! In honor of the holiday, I'm declaring a day off from work. Perhaps I can get another thing or two done around the house and maybe even give Mrs. Claus a hand...

Details as the day progresses...

Okay; the day may now progress. I've slept in; had breakfast; and now it's time for list making...

  • Replace the X-10 controller that went south over the weekend. The one handling all the Christmas lighting...
  • Post Christmas pictures for Mrs. Claus. ...before meeting Marcia "up close and personal" with an ornament in her hand! (Oh yeah: They're just trees; nothing more. Yeah, I know they link elsewhere, but that's another story...)
  • Finish the setup on the boy's new Christmas present. ...and load some of the games and such Mrs. Claus selected for them.
  • Find those games! Shelley said she gave them to me last month. ...and saw me head toward the "library" with them. Uh-oh.
  • Find the parts I've picked up over the last month to upgrade Shelley's machine. Oh, my; they're in the "library"...
  • Play with hardware router/firewall. NT likes it; Linux isn't sure...
  • Place leaping frogs on church web site <sigh>.
  • Place partridge back in pear tree...

Tales of the day later on the alternate site...


Hallelujah! The Christmas season can finally start. ...sometime this afternoon when they let me out for several days sans logo shirt. ...and I think I may be ready. 'Cause it's just been one thing after another lately to trip me up on my journey toward The Happy, Happy, Happy Christmas spirit. No, nothing depressing or anything like that; just a little too much happening each day.

Ah well, I managed to get a few things done yesterday. ...and we had a great dinner last night<g>. ...then we went out after dinner and looked at Christmas displays at a local park and a place called Christmas Tree Lane.

The park charged admission, but they had eleventy-million lights up in all sorts of designs. It was worth the ride. ...although I still don't get the link between the dinosaur displays and Christmas. I mean, at least the sea serpent by the lake had a Santa hat on...

Now the lane was a different story. Christmas Tree Lane has been around since 1920 in one form or another. We're talking nearly two miles of older residential street (at one time the high rent district), lined with deodar cedars and lit up with Christmas lights and decorations. I hadn't been there for several years as my patience level for slow trips with impatient children isn't the best. This time wasn't a whole lot better, but for once I had a good time. You see, I could remember seeing some of the same decorations forty years ago when my parents used to drive me and my sisters on the same tour. Oh, they're not all the same, but some of them have been preserved by their owners in mint condition. I saw a few of the original "Coca Cola Santas" that had been converted to yard decorations. ...and some angels with more than a few Christmas miles under their wings. My favorite from the old days was a Nativity scene with neon tubes for halos on the main characters. That was cutting edge stuff for home displays in the fifties. Hmmm... So, maybe I am ready for Christmas after all...
I'll let you know later...


'Twas Three Nights Before Christmas
(with apologies to Clement Clarke Moore)

'Twas three nights before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, well, maybe Mom's mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of Lego games danced in their heads;
And mamma at her keyboard, and I at my desk,
Had just settled down for a long evenings post,

When out from the hard drive there arose such a clatter,
I sprang to the table to see what was the matter.
Away to the boxen I flew like a flash,
Fired up the monitor to see what had crashed.

The error on the screen of the new-purchased box,
Gave the story of dread to this near-Christmas pox,
There, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a dialog saying, "Install drivers here!",

With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment, I needed St. NIC.
More rapid than eagles I searched through the hive,
For the box with the cable that stated "CAT Five";

"Twist, white-orange! twist, white-brown! now, brown and white-green!
twist, blue! twist white-blue! and, orange and green!
To the end of the cable! to the end by the wall!
Now crimp away! crimp away! crimp away all!"

As techies with children know only too well,
When you meet with an obstacle, you'd better be swell,
So into the hub, the cable end flew,
And the Leds lit up there, and on the NIC too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard that nice sound,
That new Me start up, of One Adam Twelve.
As I drew in my hand, and was turning around,
Out from the hallway, Mom came with a bound.

She was dressed all in flannel, from her head to her foot,
Awakened by sounds she knew not from what;
(A near miss we had as she came down the hall,
I guess I should place cable, more close to the wall).

But her eyes, how they twinkled! her smile was quite merry!
For she saw that the new box would work out quite cherry.
Her fine little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And games she passed over, just for me to load;

The start was with Riven, followed by Myst,
And now Typing Tutor, that couldn't be missed<g>;
She'd found Lego Knights, and sounds from the telly,
That start-up, that's special, with One Adam Twelveee.

WordPerfect was Suite; and the train game was cool,
But I worried and wondered, if the hard drive was full;
A quick check of space, and a defrag instead,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;

I spoke not a word, but went straight to my work,
And filled all the hard drive with games and a perk,
And laying my finger aside of my nose,
And giving a nod, off to bed I did go;

I crawled into bed, to my wife gave a hug,
And pulled up those covers all snug as a bug.
But I felt myself <sigh>, ere I'm out like a light,


Merry/Happy Christmas Eve... I found out yesterday a good many families consider National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation to be a Christmas tradition. Somehow I cannot see my mom enjoying that one as much as It's a Wonderful Life or Miracle on 34th Street...

Let's see, we've made it though Christmas Eve Eve... Now to manage today... That'll be third service at church, home long enough to catch our breath, and then off to my sister's (picking up venerable Mom on the way) for a Christmas Eve food fest and good times in good company. That's doable.

Mañana involves a road trip; I'll deal with that one when I have to...

...and a big "Thanks" for the compliments on yesterday's epic; I appreciate the kind words. It really just started to grow as I was thinking about crimping down that cable from the workspace to the kitchen table. ...and sorta, kinda, like grew. So thanks, I appreciate the feedback.

Have a wonderful day...

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All content Copyright 1999, 2000 Daniel C. Bowman. All rights reserved.